Economic measures against Russia and lethal military equipment for Ukraine

  • Joint media statement with:
  • The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister
  • The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Treasurer
  • The Hon. Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Defence
28 February 2022

The Australian Government is deeply concerned at Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, which is a gross violation of international law and the United Nations Charter. We will continue to coordinate closely with our partners – including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, NATO and the EU – to impose a high cost on Russia.

We are holding Russian President Vladimir Putin to account for his egregious unjustified war against Ukraine. From midnight last night, Australian targeted financial sanctions and travel bans came into effect on the Russian President and remaining permanent members of Russia’s Security Council: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and Internal Affairs Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev.

President Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov and Defence Minister Shoigu are directly responsible for Russia’s unprovoked and unlawful further invasion of Ukraine. It is exceedingly rare to designate a head of state, and reflects the depth of our concerns. President Putin joins a very small group that includes Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

Australia will work with NATO and our other partners to provide lethal as well as non-lethal military equipment, medical supplies, and financial assistance to support the people of Ukraine. As an immediate measure, Australia will contribute US$3 million to NATO’s Trust Fund for Ukraine to support non-lethal military equipment and medical supplies. Details of Australia’s contribution of lethal military equipment are being worked through with our partners and will be announced soon.

Australia will continue to work with allies and like-minded countries to impose further economic sanctions on Russia, building on the raft of travel bans and asset freezes implemented in recent days against Russia’s most influential political and military actors. So far Australia has sanctioned more than 350 Russian individuals, including corrupt oligarchs, MPs, and military commanders who are facilitating Putin’s illegal and violent ambitions. Moreover, we have sanctioned 13 Belarusian individuals and entities, including Belarusian Minister of Defence Viktor Khrenin, who has aided and abetted Putin’s aggression by allowing Russia to launch attacks from Belarus.

The Australian Government strongly supports the announcements by the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States on further restrictive economic measures against key Russian banks, institutions and individuals.

These measures include:

  • removal of selected Russian banks from the SWIFT global payments messaging system
  • restrictive measures to prevent the Russian Central Bank from using its international reserves in a way that undermines sanctions
  • limiting so-called golden passports for wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government
  • a trans-Atlantic task force to identify and freeze the assets of sanctioned individuals and companies that exist within their jurisdictions.

Together, these measures will impose severe costs on the Russian economy by disconnecting its key banks from the international financial system and disrupting Russian trade and investment flows. They will also paralyse Russia’s foreign reserves and prevent Russian officials and elites from accessing key financial systems.

While we expect that the SWIFT measures as announced will be implemented at a global level, we will take complementary steps as required.

The Australian Government reiterates our staunch support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for the people of Ukraine.

[ENDS]

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555