Interview with Scott Emerson, 4BC

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian sanctions, support for Ukraine.
24 February 2022

Scott Emerson:

We are now joined by Australia's Foreign Minister, Marise Payne. Minister, thanks for being on the show.

Marise Payne:

Good afternoon, Scott.

Scott Emerson:

Obviously, very grim news coming out of Ukraine. We've just heard from the Prime Minister. 1400 Australians are still in Ukraine. Casualties have been taken after the bombing from Russia, and also tanks are going in from Belarus. Obviously a concern. Have you had any updates further to that so far? I know it's a very much a moving situation there.

Marise Payne:

Scott. I just arrived in Laos from Prague and getting updates here this afternoon. I think the Prime Minister has conveyed the information that we have, but we have been extremely clear that Australia absolutely condemns this reckless and destructive action by Russia. It is a wholesale breach of international law. It’s illegal, it's unjustified, and it's unprovoked.

Scott Emerson:

All right. And sanctions come into force from midnight tonight. Are you expecting Australia will impose even further sanctions given the invasion of Ukraine now?

Marise Payne:

We have indicated that following our first phase of sanctions from yesterday, we will impose new sanctions, additional sanctions on 25 individuals, which includes army commanders, deputy defence ministers, and Russian mercenaries who have been responsible for this aggression towards Ukraine. For entities involved in the development and sales of military technology and weapons, and investment restrictions will be placed on four Russian financial institutions as well, Scott. We will also proceed to determine sanctions in relation to the members of the Duma who have supported through their political processes, this unlawful invasion of Ukraine.

Scott Emerson:

I'm talking to Australia's Foreign Minister, Marise Payne. Minister, can I just confirm again we've heard previously from the government we will not be sending troops to Ukraine. That situation has not changed?

Marise Payne:

No, it hasn't, Scott. We will support Ukraine in other ways. We have also in development now a humanitarian package of assistance. We'll do that through UN and international agencies. We are engaged in supporting Ukraine in the context of their cybersecurity. We know that Russia has been responsible for cyber breaches in Ukraine for some time now and again in recent weeks on key government and financial institutions, for example. So we'll continue to do that and also work with partners to see what further support we can provide. But we will not be providing military assistance in Ukraine itself.

Scott Emerson:

No military assistance at all. What about, well, not troops, but any other support in the conflict there for the Ukrainian Government and its troops there fighting off the Russians.

Marise Payne:

We will keep talking with both the Ukrainians and with our partners. Obviously, there are partners much closer than Australia in terms of the ability to deliver readily and quickly. It may be that there are other ways for Australia to provide support that is helpful, but we stand ready to assist and have been talking with those leading Ukrainian representatives. I met with the Foreign Minister myself last week. The Prime Minister had spoken with the Prime Minister overnight and certainly we are working very closely with the US, with the UK and with the European Union of course.

Scott Emerson:

Given all the warnings that we saw towards Vladimir Putin and the clear indication from Australia and the other allied countries there that they would be imposing sanctions, it obviously didn't deter Vladimir Putin, more sanctions, is that going to make any difference to his plans in terms of going into Ukraine and installing a puppet government there? Sanctions don't seem to make any difference to Vladimir Putin.

Marise Payne: Well, Scott, the alternative is that the international community does not pursue the penalties and the costs that must apply for this sort of behaviour. So whilst I understand that there will be a concern that President Putin has continued with this unlawful, illegal activity. It is important, I think, for the international community to ensure that there is a cost to be paid by Russia and that is what the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK and the EU have been working towards. These are serious sanctions. They will have a significant effect on the Russian economy and the Russian system, on leading supporters of President Putin's activity in invading Ukraine. And it is something I do think it is important that we do.

Scott Emerson:

Marise Payne, Australia's Foreign Minister thanks for being on 4BC Drive this afternoon.

Marise Payne:

Thanks very much, Scott.

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