Australia has hit Russia with a fresh round of sanctions over Moscow’s claimed annexation of four regions in Ukraine. Travel restrictions and financial penalties are being imposed on Russian-backed separatists and senior officials. Campaigners are urging Australia to supply more weapons to Ukraine.
The new sanctions imposed by Australia will target 28 Russian-appointed separatist ministers and officials. The government in Canberra has said they are trying to legitimize Russia’s actions in Ukraine through “sham” referendums and disinformation.
Friday, President Vladimir Putin declared that four regions of Ukraine, including Donetsk and Luhansk, would be absorbed into Russia.
Australia has joined a chorus of global condemnation of the annexations. Defense minister Richard Marles told reporters Sunday they were illegal.
“The unprovoked aggression from Russia in respect of Ukraine is such a flouting of the U.N. Charter, of the global rules-based order it must not be allowed stand,” he said.
Ukrainian groups in Australia continue to urge the Canberra government to provide more military assistance to Ukraine.
Australia has provided missiles and Bushmaster armored personnel carriers.
Stefan Romaniw, the co-chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations, says military support and sanctions send a clear message to Russia’s President Putin.
“What is an Australian Bushmaster going to do in Ukraine? What it has done has been very effective in helping to reclaim part of Ukrainian soil and taking over territory. This morning Bushmasters are towing Russian tanks. The question of whether sanctions work or don’t, he [President Vladimir Putin] has to get a message that he is not welcome in the international community, he is toxic,” he said.
Australia has already imposed sweeping sanctions on Russian institutions and its political and military leaders, including President Putin.
Russia has responded by placing Australia and other European nations, the U.S., Japan and South Korea on a list of “unfriendly countries.”
Australia has also filed with the International Court of Justice, or the ICJ, in support of a case brought by Ukraine against Russia for violating the Genocide Convention. It joins other countries, including New Zealand, Denmark and Spain.
The ICJ has ordered Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine and said it had not seen any evidence to support Moscow’s justification for the war.
Russia has failed to comply with the order.