CANBERRA -- Remember just two and half years ago, Tony Abbott threatened to "shirtfront" the Russian President Vladimir Putin for his lack of answers over the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet MH17 over eastern Ukraine?
"You bet you are. You bet I am," promised the then-Prime Minister. "I am going to being saying to Mr Putin: Australians were murdered. They were murdered by Russian backed rebels using Russian supplied weapons."
But in Australian echo of U.S. President Donald Trump, some Putin praise is spreading faster then you can shout "fake news!" One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has praised Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying she "quite likes Vlad" and calling him "a strong leader".
Although the AFL-themed threat failed to eventuate, the official preliminary report ruled the Boeing 777 was shot down from pro-Russian rebel controlled territory, by a missile that had been recently transported from Russia.
Ukraine blames Russia, but the investigators have stopped short of saying Russia was responsible while the investigation is still underway. Russia has rejected the findings.
For the Putin fan bois: The Australian victims of flight MH17 | SBS News https://t.co/0HMF8jawr1— Mark Textor (@AGFchairman) February 5, 2017
President Trump has also repeatedly praised Putin and attracted new criticism Sunday for shrugging off the former KGB official's reputation as a killer.
Asked about the Putin on Channel 9 - after being introduced provocatively as "Prime Minister Pauline Hanson" - she praised the Russian President as a man "standing up for his nation".
"Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are strong leaders," she told Today.
38 Aussies dead when Russian rebells shot down MH17. But Hanson says she "quite likes" Putin on Sunrise. SINGLE MUMS = Bad. PUTIN = Good. pic.twitter.com/ak4ECEXl9X— Sam Dastyari (@samdastyari) February 5, 2017
"You may not agree with what they do, but they are prepared to make a decision and they have the country's best interests at heart."
She then took aim at Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten.
"You never hear any vision or hear any clear direction. That's why they are fed up with both of them, that they want someone else to speak up, you know."
It's not just One Nation pumping up Putin, firebrand LNP MP George Christensen has also expressed support in an overnight social media session, tweeting that Russia has been "unfairly demonised" and linking to stories that suggested U.S. forces are backing terrorist groups in Syria.
When a follower brought up the fate of MH17, Christensen fired back that Russians did not do it, "separatists allegedly did".
Officially, Australia still wants a criminal investigation into the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane.
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