Over 300 Russian lawmakers have been subjected to the travel ban, announced Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison .
Morrison said at a news conference in Adelaide, South Australia’s capital city, that his government is working with the US to extend sanctions on key Belarussian individuals and entities who assisted Russia in its attacks on Ukraine.
“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 Duma, their parliament, who voted to authorize the use of Russian troops in Ukraine to illegally invade Ukraine,” said Morrison.
Australia sanctioned Russian politicians and financial institutions on Wednesday, as well as placed a trade embargo on the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which Russia recognized as “independent republics” on Monday.
The government barred trade with these regions in the transportation, energy, telecommunications, oil, gas, and minerals sectors.
Canberra also barred Australian people and companies from doing business with five Russian banks, including Rossiya Bank, Promsvyazbank, IS Bank, Genbank, and the Black Sea Bank for Development and Reconstruction.
“We have already announced two rounds of sanctions targeting culpable and prominent Russian individuals, banks and companies, and we have also seen overnight the latest measures announced by our key partners, including the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as very strong statements from Japan and South Korea,” he said.
The prime minister also criticized China for easing trade restrictions on Russian wheat entering the country, claiming that Beijing is helping Moscow at a time when the West imposing sanctions to put pressure on them.
“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 added.
The prime minister avoided giving a direct answer to reporters’ persistent inquiries on whether Canberra would deploy military if the US and NATO stepped in to support Ukraine.
“There’s no suggestion that the US is sending troops in,” he said, adding that “the US has made it very clear.”
President Vladimir Putin announced Russia’s military operation in Ukraine early Thursday, stating that its goal is to protect those “subjected to genocide” by Kyiv and to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine. He also called on the Ukrainian Army to lay down its arms.