European Commission President says EU wants Ukraine to join bloc

Australia’s travel bans and targeted financial sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and senior government officials are now in effect, the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed in a statement on Monday.

“As of midnight last night, targeted Australian financial sanctions and travel bans came into effect against the Russian President and the remaining permanent members of the Russian Security Council: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu , Prime Minister Mikhail Michoustin and Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev,” a statement from Morrison’s office said.

“It is extremely rare to appoint 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,” he continued.

The Australian government has also pledged to provide lethal and non-lethal military equipment, medical supplies and financial assistance to support Ukraine, as well as contributing US$3 million to the United Nations Trust Fund. NATO for Ukraine.

“Details of Australia’s contribution of lethal military equipment are being worked out with our partners and will be announced shortly,” Morrison’s office said.

The Morrison government had previously only committed to sending non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine.

Australia has now sanctioned more than 350 Russian individuals and 13 Belarusian individuals and entities, including Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin, since Russia invaded Ukraine last week.

The United States, along with the European Commission (EC), France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada, announced on Saturday that it would expel certain Russian banks from SWIFT, the financial network of high security that facilitates the smooth and fast transfer of money globally.

On Monday, Morrison’s office said Australia would “take further action if necessary” to block Russia’s access to SWIFT.