The Australian Government, coursed through Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, confirmed imposing travel and financial sanctions against Russian personnel responsible for the ongoing Crimea crisis.
Ms Bishop confirmed that there are 12 Russian and Ukrainian individuals to be affected by the sanctions. These individuals are believed to be instrumental in the Russian threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The decision to ban these individuals, whose names remained withheld, showed that Australia is firm and unequivocal with its support of Ukraine.
"I condemn in the strongest terms Russian President Vladimir Putin's move to annex the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. The unauthorised vote in Crimea on 16 March, carried out while Russian forces were effectively in control of the territory, cannot form the legitimate basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea," Ms Bishop said in a statement.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the situation in Ukraine remains serious, with the potential for military confrontation.
The graveness of the situation in Crimea was highlighted by the fatal attack on a Ukrainian serviceman. In the eyes of the Australian government, such attack was deplorable and underlines the volatility of the crisis Russia is fuelling.
"Australia stands with the international community in taking action. We have remained in close contact with friends and allies, including through our membership of the United Nations Security Council, where we have delivered strong protests to Russia about its conduct in relation to Ukraine. I continue to urge the Russian government to abide by its international obligations, including its responsibility as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, for the maintenance of international peace and security. I call on Russia, again, to change course," Ms Bishop said.
The sanctions made by the Australian Government followed that of sanctions from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and European Union.
The United States has imposed sanctions against these individuals:
- Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov
- presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev
- State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky
- Member of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament Andrey Klishas
- Head of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament Valentina Matvienko
- Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin
- State Duma deputy Yelena Mizulina
- Ukrainians including the ousted President Viktor Yanukovich
- Crimean officials Sergey Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov
- Former Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk
Meanwhile, Ukraine called for United Nations to declare Crimea a demilitarised zone.
"The Ukrainian government will immediately appeal to the United Nations to recognise Crimea as a demilitarised zone and take necessary measures for Russian forces to leave Crimea and prepare conditions for re-deployment of Ukrainian forces," the secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Andriy Parubiy, said.
Mr Parubi believed that his call for demilitarisation is the best option for Crimea.
"This formula is the best for de-escalation ... We hope that common sense will prevail," he said.