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Australia ratchets up sanctions against Russia

September 1, 2014

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia on Monday ratcheted up sanctions against Russia in line with the United States and European Union in response to Russian soldiers openly violating Ukraine sovereignty.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott accused Russia of “brazenly” trying to break eastern Ukraine away from the rest of the country.

“If Russian troops remain in Ukraine, if Russia persists in its attempt to break up a neighboring country that has done it no harm, it risks becoming an international pariah,” Abbott told Parliament.

The new sanctions expand upon financial sanctions and travel bans introduced by Australia in March. They ban any new arms trade with Russia, prohibit Russian state-owned banks from accessing Australian capital markets, and ban trade in Russia’s oil and gas industry and in Crimea.

Targeted financial sanctions and travel bans now apply to an additional 63 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and 21 entities, raising the total numbers to 113 individuals and 32 entities.

Russia’s government last month banned most food imports from the West, including the U.S., European Union and Australia, as retaliation against sanctions related to the crisis in Ukraine.

Abbott said Monday that Russia has been engaged in a campaign to destabilize Ukraine for months. As a consequence, 38 Australian citizens and residents were “brutally murdered,” along with 260 other passengers and crew, on July 17 when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down from “territory controlled by Russian-backed rebels with a Russian-supplied missile,” he said.

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