Australia on Friday joined the Netherlands in slamming Russia’s decision to withdraw from consultations over its involvement in the 2014 downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, which killed 298 people, mostly Dutch and Australian citizens. Since 2018, the three countries have held discussions aimed at uncovering the cause of the disaster, in which a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was hit by a Soviet-designed missile, killing all on board. Thirty-eight Australians and 196 Dutch citizens were among the passengers on the plane when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region where pro-Russian separatist rebels were battling Ukraine forces.Both the Netherlands and Australia have previously said they hold Russia responsible for shooting down the plane. Moscow has always forcefully denied it was involved and blamed Ukraine. Russia said Thursday it would withdraw from the talks, complaining of “vicious” attempts to pin blame on Moscow, including a case brought by the Netherlands against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights over the downing.