CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – A Russian diplomat on Tuesday dismissed the Australian prime minister’s threat of a physical confrontation with the Russian president as immature, warning that Vladimir Putin is a judo expert.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott intends to have a one-on-one meeting with Putin on the sidelines of a summit of the world’s 20 biggest economies in Brisbane next month to demand Russian cooperation with a Dutch-led investigation into the shooting down of a Malaysia airliner in Ukraine by Russian-backed separatists with the loss of 298 lives in July.
Abbott told reporters on Monday he was “going to shirtfront Mr Putin”, using an Australian Rules Football term for a head-on shoulder charge to an opponent’s chest aimed at knocking the opponent backward to the ground.
Alexander Odoevski, third secretary of the Russian Embassy in Canberra, described Abbott’s threat as unhelpful.
“We consider the recent statements tough talk; we consider it immature,” Odoevski told Australian Associated Press.
“Hopefully there’s no fight. Well, definitely we admire the Australian prime minister. He’s very fit, but the Russian president, he’s a professional judo wrestler,” Odoevski told Ten Network television.
Odoevski did not immediately respond to Associated Press’s request for comment on Tuesday.