Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which killed 298 people including 27 Australians (later updated to 28), as ”a grim day for our country and it’s a grim day for our world”.
”As things stand, Madam Speaker, this looks less like an accident than a crime,” he said, speaking in Parliament on Friday.
”And, if so, the perpetrators must be brought to justice.”
Mr Abbott said Australia would seek a resolution at the UN Security Council for an impartial investigation into the disaster, demanding full access to the crash site, the black box flight recorder and ‘‘all individuals who might be in a position to shed light on this terrible event”.
The prime minister said Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had summoned the Russian ambassador Vladimir Morozov to a meeting to seek assurance that the Russian government would fully co-operate with such an investigation.
He said: ”We owe it as well to the families of the dead to find out exactly what has happened and exactly who is responsible”.
”Our hearts go out to the families of all the dead,” Mr Abbott told Parliament.
”Our thoughts and prayers especially are with the families of the Australian dead.
”We can’t restore them to life but we can and will do everything to support them in this sad and bitter time because that is the Australian way.”
Mr Abbott has ordered flags on Australian government buildings to fly at half-mast on Saturday as a mark of respect to those killed, and a national commemorative service and national day of mourning will be held at a later date.
IMAGE: The front cover of the Herald Sun newspaper at a news stall on Swanston Street on July 18, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Twenty-eight Australians were on board the MH17 which was reportedly shot down over Eastern Ukraine. Reports that a surface-to-air missile brough the MH17 down remain unconfirmed. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)
*UPDATE 19/07/2014: This article was revised to include the officially revised number of 28 Australians known to be on board flight MH17.