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Russia, Australia Leaders Urge Quicker MH17 Probe

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Beijing, November 11, 2014.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have agreed on the need to speed up the investigation into the crash of a Malaysia Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine.

A Kremlin statement said talks on the July crash dominated a Tuesday meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Summit being held in Beijing.

The meeting was being watched closely since Prime Minister Abbott had recently threatened to aggressively confront President Putin about Russia's alleged involvement in the July crash.

Putin's spokesman said the Australian leader apparently did not try to follow through on his threat to "shirtfront," or shoulder-charge, the Russian president, a technique used in Australian Rules football.

Many Western countries accuse Russian-backed separatists of shooting down the plane as it flew through rebel-held eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Russia denies any involvement. It instead blames the Kyiv government for failing to contain the unrest within its borders, which has hampered the investigation into the crash.

On Tuesday, the Russian statement said Putin "reaffirmed the unacceptability of a situation where experts' access to the crash site has been hampered and is becoming impossible because of shelling by Ukrainian army units."

Putin insisted that Moscow has "demanded an impartial, prompt and effective investigation from the very beginning."

Two hundred ninety-eight passengers and crew members were killed, including 38 Australian residents and citizens.

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