Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia will impose further financial sanctions on Russian oligarchs and politicians as the devastating invasion in Ukraine continues.
“Today Australia will be imposing further sanctions on oligarchs, whose economic weight is of strategic significance to Moscow, and over 300 members of the Russian parliament who voted to authorise the use of Russian troops in Ukraine, to illegally invade Ukraine,” the Prime Minister announced on Friday morning.
“We are also working with the United States to align with their further sanctions overnight on key Belarusian individuals complicit with the aggressions.
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“These sanctions actions 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 their unlawful actions, which are unprovoked.”
Mr Morrison also revealed the Australian government was working with NATO to provide “non-lethal military equipment and medical supplies” to Ukraine.
“That is the most effective way for us to do that,” he said.
“We are a long way from Ukraine and the most effective way is to be doing that to our NATO partners to ensure that we can support that commitment, we are providing financial support as well as equipment through that NATO channel.”
Mr Morrison said Russia must face some kind of consequence.
“We understand the concern that the threat of sanctions did not lead to them not going ahead with this. That was not our expectation,” he said.
“But there must be a cost.
“There must be a price and it must be imposed by the global community.”
The Prime Minister also lashed out at China, accusing them of “throwing Russia a lifeline” by easing trade restrictions with the country.
“I particularly have been concerned at the lack of a strong response from China,” he said.
“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.
“That is simply unacceptable.
“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 are invading another country.”