Australia and Japan announce new Russia sanctions
Both nations had already imposed penalties on Russia over its recognition of the Donbass republics
Australia and Japan have moved to impose additional sanctions on Russia, each introducing another round of measures along with a number of Western allies – all condemning Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared new penalties during a press conference in Sydney on Thursday, insisting “there must be a cost” for Russia’s “violent and unacceptable” actions after its forces moved into the Donbass region in support of two breakaway republics there, later launching strikes on sites across Ukraine.
“Today, we continue to go further, acting with our close partners, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, those in Europe and NATO in condemning Russia’s actions,” Morrison said in announcing a “second phase” of sanctions.
While Canberra had already targeted a number of Russian businesses and citizens with sanctions earlier this week for allegedly “undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the new penalties will apply to another 25 individuals – including military commanders and defense officials – as well as “four entities involved in the development and sale of military technology and weapons.”
Australians will also be barred from investing in four other Russian financial institutions, the PM continued, also threatening “further waves of sanctions,” including against more than 300 Russian lawmakers. The European Union has already moved ahead on penalties for hundreds of deputies of the Russian Duma for voting to recognize the embattled Donetsk and Lugansk republics in the Donbass, which have been in a military conflict with the Kiev government intermittently since 2014.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also announced further sanctions on Moscow. Like Australia, Tokyo previously imposed penalties over Russia’s Donbass recognition, but the PM said his government would be “intensifying” the measures after Russian troops were deployed to the region. The stiffer sanctions include freezing Russian assets abroad, issuing visa bans, as well as prohibition on imports of Russian goods which “may be used for military purposes.”
Tokyo and Moscow have long sought to resolve a border dispute over what Japan calls its “Northern Territories” – known to Russia as the Kuril Islands – a chain of islands claimed by both nations. PM Kishida said his country’s position remains unchanged on the matter and suggested the Ukraine crisis could have some effect on negotiations, though he said he would “refrain from predictions at the moment.”
The new penalties follow similar retaliation by a long list of Western and European nations, each of which has condemned Moscow for threatening Ukraine’s “territorial integrity” with its military operation launched early on Thursday morning.