On February 23, 2022 it was annonsed by the Prime Minister, Minster for Foreign Affairs that the Morrison Government is taking immediate action to sanction Russian individuals, organisations and banks as part of the international effort to impose a sharp cost on Russia for its unprovoked and unacceptable aggression against Ukraine.
Under a first phase, we will impose travel bans and targeted financial sanctions on eight members of Russia’s Security Council. The Council bears responsibility for the current phase of the invasion by providing policy advice and justification to President Putin’s unilateral declaration recognising the so-called Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic.
Targeted financial sanctions will mean Australian individuals and entities cannot do business with the following banks: Rossiya Bank, Promsvyazbank, IS Bank, Genbank and the Black Sea Bank for Development and Reconstruction. This is in addition to restrictions on Australians investing in the state development bank VEB.
We will amend the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 to extend existing sanctions that apply to Crimea and Sevastopol to Donetsk and Luhansk. This will impose strong economic sanctions in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk prohibiting trade in the transport, energy, telecommunications, and oil, gas and minerals sectors.
We will also amend the Regulations to significantly broaden the scope of people and entities that Australia can list for sanctions to include those of “strategic and economic significance to Russia”. We are working with our partners to identify additional individuals who will be subject to these sanctions.
In taking these actions, we are in alignment with our key partners, the United States and the United Kingdom.
This is the beginning of our sanctions process, as we remain deeply concerned that Russia is escalating its aggression. We are determined to work with responsible nations worldwide to ensure any further invasion by Russia against its smaller, democratic neighbour incurs the high cost it deserves.
All Ukrainian nationals in Australia with a visa that is due to expire up to 30 June, will be given an automatic extension for six months.
Outstanding visa applications from Ukrainian citizens, which number approximately 430, will be prioritised and fast tracked for a decision by immigration officials, as soon as possible.
Regarding sanctions, we will not hesitate to further amend the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 to expand sanctions as necessary, and already have a wider package of sanctions on persons and entities in reserve should Russia escalate its unlawful conduct in Eastern Ukraine.
We welcome the actions taken by other likeminded countries who want to see a stable international order, notably Germany which has suspended the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.