Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that Australia is attempting to join other countries in imposing direct sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and that it has expanded its punitive financial measures to include members of the Russian parliament as well as more oligarchs.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States, Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom announced that they will impose sanctions on Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The move comes as Washington seeks to increase pressure on Moscow.
During a press conference, Payne stated that sanctioning leaders is a “extraordinary action,” but that the circumstances is “unique.” He also stated that the government is seeking guidance on how to follow the lead of other countries in taking such a step.
Putin possesses unrivalled personal influence over his country, and he has chosen to go to war with a neighbour who poses no threat to Russia in order to reverse history and take away the freedom and democracy that the Ukrainian people have chosen for themselves.
Payne stated that Australia will target 339 members of the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian government, as well as eight additional oligarchs as part of its new sanctions. Australia slapped a set of penalties against Iran earlier in the week, and the new measures are in response to those measures.
According to Payne, “the next immediate priority is to maintain sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s inner circle as well as against Russia’s defence industry.”