Aussie PM Threatens to 'Shirtfront' Putin

Russian embassy mocks Abbott's Aussie Rules talk
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2014 3:51 AM CDT

If Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott walks it like he talks it, next month's G20 summit in Brisbane could be a more feisty affair than usual: Vladimir Putin will be in attendance, and Abbott says he plans to "shirtfront" the Russian leader over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, which killed 38 Australians, reports the Guardian. "Shirtfront" is an Australian Rules football term for a charge aimed at knocking a player to the ground. "I am going to shirtfront Mr. Putin—you bet I am—I am going to be saying to Mr. Putin Australians were murdered, they were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment," Abbott told reporters.

A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Canberra seems pretty sure that his leader can take on Abbott, though he may not get a chance to, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. "There has not been a request for a bilateral at the Brisbane summit from either side. So we are not sure when the prime minister would like to shirtfront the Russian president," the diplomat says. "I know Prime Minister Abbott is a very keen bicyclist. The Russian president does a lot of judo, which is a type of wrestling." Abbott is also a former rugby player who boxed in college, but a Sydney boxing trainer tells the Daily Mail that in a fight, the smart money would be on Putin—not just because of his judo prowess, but because of the brains and "raw tenacity" he has displayed in recent years. (More Tony Abbott stories.)

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