7124 Ukraine digs in as Russian onslaught slows

Ukraine digs in as Russian onslaught slows

Australian travel bans and targeted financial sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and senior members of his government are now in effect, the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed in a statement Monday. 

“From midnight last night, Australian targeted financial sanctions and travel bans came into effect on the Russian President and remaining permanent members of Russia’s Security Council: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and Internal Affairs Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev,” a statement from Morrison’s office said. 

“It is exceedingly rare to designate a head of state and reflects the depth of our concerns. President Putin joins a very small group that includes Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Mu’ammar Gaddafi of Libya, and Bashar al-Assad of Syria,” it continued. 

The Australian government has also committed to providing lethal and non-lethal military equipment, medical supplies, and financial assistance to support Ukraine, as well as contributing US $3 million to NATO’s Trust Fund for Ukraine. 

“Details of Australia’s contribution of lethal military equipment are being worked through with our partners and will be announced soon,” Morrison’s office said. 

The Morrison government had previously only committed to sending non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine. 

Australia has now sanctioned more than 350 Russian individuals and 13 Belarusian individuals and entities including Belarusian Minister of Defence Viktor Khrenin, since Russia invaded Ukraine last week. 

The US, along with the European Commission (EC), France, Germany, Italy, the UK, and Canada, announced on Saturday they would expel certain Russian banks from SWIFT, the high-security financial network that facilities the smooth and rapid transfer of money globally. 

On Monday, Morrison’s office said Australia would “take complementary steps as required,” to block Russia’s access to SWIFT. 

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