SYDNEY, May 21 – Australia Wednesday announced further sanctions against allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin as it reaffirmed its “clear and unequivocal support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine”.
The financial sanctions and travel bans were expanded to cover an additional 38 unnamed Russians and Ukrainians and 11 entities. A total of 50 people are now affected.
“I remain deeply concerned by the escalation of events in the east of Ukraine, which has resulted in tragic loss of life,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.
“Australia stands united with the Ukrainian people in this ordeal and calls on Russia again to change course. The deliberate destabilisation within Ukraine must stop.”
The new sanctions, which add to those imposed on Russia by the United States and European Union, came as Moscow said it was pulling back its forces from the border with Ukraine ahead of the country’s presidential poll.
Bishop urged the Russian government to “abide by its international obligations” and preserve international peace and security.
“We welcome the ongoing, positive steps taken by the government of Ukraine to implement its Geneva commitments and also its preparations for presidential elections on 25 May,” Bishop added.
“It is in Australia’s national interest to have a democratic Ukraine able to determine its own future, and to protect a rules-based international order.”