Australia on Wednesday slapped financial sanctions and travel bans on a dozen Russian and Ukrainian officials who had been instrumental in Crimea’s annexation with Russia.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the referendum in Crimea could not form any legitimate basis to separate it from the rest of Ukraine.
“International law does not allow one state to steal the territory of another on the basis of a referendum that cannot be considered free or fair,” she said.
Without giving out names, Ms. Bishop said the sanctions and travel bans would target 12 people who were instrumental in the latest development. “The Australian Government will impose targeted financial sanctions and travel bans on those who have been instrumental in the Russian threat to Ukraine sovereignty,” she said. “Australia has taken these actions in solidarity and support for a rules-based international order.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin added Crimea to Russia’s map, describing the move as correcting past injustice and responding to what he called Western encroachment upon his country’s vital interests.
“The fatal attack on Ukrainian servicemen in Crimea is to be deplored and underlines the volatility of the crisis that Russia is fuelling,” Ms. Bishop said.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of violence against Ukraine and its citizens,” she added.
She said Australia’s actions are in line with sanctions imposed by the European Union and Canada.