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Australia rules out fresh sanctions against Russia before all airliner victims are recovered

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott says his government is not considering ratcheting up sanctions against Russia while it is focusing on retrieving Australian victims from the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner disaster in Ukraine.

Abbott has had several telephone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past two weeks and has credited the Russian leader with cooperating with international efforts to retrieve the remains of 298 people killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile likely fired by pro-Russian rebels.

Abbott said Wednesday he is not considering following the United States and European Union by increasing sanctions aimed at pressuring Putin into ending his country's support for separatists.

Abbott told reporters his "focus is on bringing home" the remains of 28 Australian citizens quickly.