Australia to impose further sanctions on oligarchs

By Our Reporter
Representational image. Pecherskyi District, Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo by Eugene on Unsplash

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Australia will be imposing further sanctions on oligarchs whose economic weight is of strategic significance to Moscow.

Addressing the press in Adelaide yesterday, the Prime Minister said Australia is also working with the United States to align with their further sanctions overnight on key Belarussian individuals and entities complicit in the aggression.

“So we are extending those sanctions to Belarus. These sanctions are being prepared in close coordination with our allies and partners. This has been done to demonstrate very forcefully that we are all working together to shut Russia out as a result of their violence, and there are unlawful actions, which are unprovoked,” he said.

Australia has already announced two rounds of sanctions targeting culpable and prominent Russian individuals, banks and companies. This is along the lines of the latest overnight measures announced by Australia’s key partners, including the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as very strong statements from Japan and South Korea.

Welcoming the statements from Indonesia, Morrison said the country will work along with its partners for a rolling wave of sanctions and continuing to ratchet up that pressure on Russia.

“We understand the concern that the threat of sanctions did not lead to them not going ahead. That was not our expectation. Russia has been planning these acts of violence for some considerable period of time, but there must be a cost. There must be a price and it must be imposed by the global community,” he said.

Morrison confirmed that Australia has been working with NATO to ensure that it can provide non-lethal military equipment and medical supplies to support the people of Ukraine. “That is the most effective way for us to do that. We are a long way from Ukraine, and the most effective way is to be doing that through our NATO partners to ensure that we can support that commitment, we are providing financial support as well as a commitment through that NATO channel. And I know that people here in Australia, some 40,000 Australians of Ukrainian descent, will welcome that action.”

Without going into too much detail about the supports to NATO, he assured that “we are working very closely with those partners and allies to support them in their time of need. We have people embedded in a range of different roles and they are doing an excellent job.”

So far there has no confirmed reports of cyber-attacks here in Australia. But at the same time, Morrison advised everyone to remain on high alert.

Urging the need for the world and the global community to condemn in the strongest possible terms what is occurring in Ukraine, the Prime Minister expressed disappointment at the lack of a strong response from China.

“Overnight, it was uploaded, the reporter is in the South China Morning Post today, at a time when the world was seeking to put additional sanctions on Russia, they have eased restrictions on trade of Russian wheat into China. So at a time when Australia, together with the United Kingdom, together with the United States and Europe and Japan, are acting to cut off Russia, the Chinese Government is following through on easing trade restrictions with Russia, and that is simply unacceptable,” he said.

He further added, “China seeks to play a positive role in world affairs. They say they seek peace and I welcome those sentiments and I welcome their comments, which talk about trying to get to a position where these violent acts can cease. But that said, you don’t go and throw a lifeline to Russia in the middle of a period when they’re invading another country. That is simply unacceptable from the reports that we have seen, and I would urge all nations to say this is not a time to be easing trade restrictions with Russia, we should all be doing the exact opposite. And I would call on everyone here in Australia, as well as overseas, to note this and urge all nations to join the sanctions against Russia.”

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