Button up: Medvedev on Abbott's 'shirtfront'

Medvedev to Abbott: Putin 'quite adept at sport'

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has cautioned his Australian counterpart to be "careful of what he says" after threatening to "shirtfront" Russian President Vladimir Putin at a forthcoming G-20 summit.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott used an Australian football term for aggressively colliding with an opponent to describe how he would tackle Putin over Russia's role in the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

"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," Abbott was quoted as saying in The Guardian earlier this week.

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Putin, famously well-skilled on the judo mat, is expected to attend the G-20 summit in Brisbane next month.

"If he (Abbott) prefers sports terms, well Mr Putin is very interested in sports," Medvedev told CNBC in an exclusive interview Tuesday. "They might have a very interesting conversation. … But every politician has to be careful of what he says."

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