Australia should not ban Russian President Vladimir Putin from the G20 summit in Brisbane, says the son of a Queensland couple killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Paul Guard lost his parents, Toowoomba doctors Roger and Jill Guard, when the plane was shot down by Russian-backed rebels over Ukraine in July, killing all 298 people on board.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will use a NATO summit in Wales this week to lobby other G20 nations to block President Putin from the G20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane in November.
But Mr Guard says he should be allowed to attend, and there’s more to gain from keeping dialogue open.
“I don’t think that not talking is a good strategy. I don’t think that uninviting him achieves much,” he told ABC radio on Wednesday.
He said the G20 could be a valuable platform for world leaders to ramp up pressure on Russia and Ukraine to end their conflict.
Mr Guard said he blamed the conflict, not necessarily any party involved in it, for his parents’ deaths, and they would want nothing more than an end to the bloodshed.
He said President Putin must own his “toxic and destructive” influence on the situation, but it’s also clear that Ukraine’s government has been fuelling the violence.
Mr Guard and his brother will travel to Europe on Friday as part of efforts to repatriate MH17 victims.
“We will be going to represent our family and take part in a couple of ceremonies and view the coffins,” he said.
A private funeral is planned for some time in the future, and Mr Guard said it would be an important part of the healing process for his family.
But he said what he wanted most was an end to the conflict.
“What’s done is done,” he said.