Australia Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has intensified efforts to condemn Moscow over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine. Bishop has accused Russia of using humanitarian aid as an opportunity to occupy Ukraine.
Speaking with senior U.S. officials including Secretary of State John Kerry, Bishop said the door remains open to impose more sanctions against Russia. Australia is considering a push to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the G20 summit in Brisbane in November.
Bishop said if Russia intervenes with Ukraine using the humanitarian crisis, it will be viewed as a "transparent artifice." She declared Australia will condemn such an act and any other effort of Russia to enter Ukraine.
According to reports, Moscow has claimed Ukraine is in need of humanitarian aid due to the ongoing conflict. Russia said it needs to move people and equipment to address the humanitarian crisis.
When asked regarding sanctions, Bishop said Australia will consider the options currently available. She urged China to help put pressure on Russia to stop weapons and military personnel to enter Ukraine.
The Australian foreign minister reminded everyone of Russia's behaviour in the past few months which led to the breaching of Ukraine's sovereignty. Bishop said Russia's actions were something China does not tolerate. China has previously pointed out that if the situation had happened in its own country, it would be considered "acceptable."
Bishop reiterated that Russia continues to supply weapons and personnel to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine despite the presence of unarmed Australian and Dutch forensic teams in the MH17 crash site. She claimed Russia sent more heavy artillery and armed personnel without fail.
She accused Russia of ignoring growing international concerns about a ceasefire and the need for recovery teams to collect remaining body parts of MH17 victims scattered at the site. On the day Australia held its national day of mourning for the MH17 victims, Russia had imposed import sanctions against Australia.
The U.S. Secretary of State said he did not rule out support to prevent Mr Putin from attending the G20 meeting but the decision would depend on Russia's actions in the coming days.
Kerry said the U.S. was aware of Australia's need to bring justice to the families of MH17 victims. He assured that the U.S. government was still open for further sanctions against Russia if needed.