Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Australia will introduce immediate sanctions against Russia and “ensure there are severe costs” to Russia’s movements, to keep Australia in line with the response from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Beginning his press conference at 12:45 pm AEDT, the Australian Prime Minister firmly stated:
“The invasion of Ukraine has effectively already begun … This invasion is unjustified, it’s unwarranted, it’s unprovoked and it’s unacceptable. Russia is at peak readiness to now complete a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and that is likely to occur within the next 24 hours.”
From here, Morrison only doubled down on his harsh criticism of Russia, saying “Australians always stand up to bullies and we will be standing up to Russia, along with all of our partners, like-mindeds and all of those who believe that it is absolutely unacceptable that Russia could invade its neighbour and seek to extract some concessions or advantage out of threats of terrible violence upon its neighbour.”
Later Morrison, also called Russia “thugs and bullies”, saying:
“They’re behaving like thugs and bullies, and they should be called out as thugs and bullies. And quite sadly and tragically, the sheer force of that violence of a thug and a bully is about to be impacted upon the people of Ukraine. Now, it’s at the last stage before a full invasion, and let’s hope and pray that that does not happen. But all the signs are that once they have built to a peak of military preparedness to invade, then it is only a matter of time before they have to walk away or follow through. And, sadly, all the signs are that they would follow through.”
Morrison also announced that he would put immediate sanctions on Russian individuals “in response to the aggression by Russia against Ukraine”. Expanding on this, he shared “we will also amend the Autonomous Sanctions Regulation of 2011 to extend existing sanctions that apply to Crimea and Sevastopol to the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. These two actions will align us with our key partners, the United States and the United Kingdom … We will oppose impose travel bans and targeted financial sanctions on eight members of the Security Council of the Russian Federation”
“These sanctions will significantly expand the scope of persons and, I stress, entities, that Australia can list for targeted financial sanctions and travel bans.”
“The sanctions will impose strong economic sanctions in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, targeting the following sectors: transport, energy, telecommunications, oil, gas, and mineral reserves.
Warning of retaliation from Russia in the form of cyberattacks, Morrison said:
“We will be also moving, as the United States and the UK has, to sanction the Russian State Development Bank, VEB, the military bank Promsvyazbank, Rossiya, IS Bank, the General Bank and the Black Sea Bank.
“The Treasurer has spoken today to all of the CEOs of the major banks and to put them on alert to be aware of any suspicious transactions or things of that nature.”
“And, of course, AUSTRAC will be doing their job in response to what could possibly occur. In response to Russia’s recognition of Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine as independent states, that is why these actions are being undertaken to extend into those areas.”
This comes after US President Joe Biden openly condemned Russia’s move into Ukrainian territory.