Australia raises tariffs on all Russian, Belarus imports

Sydney, Australia, Mar 31 (EFE).- Australia announced Thursday that it would apply a 35 percent increase in tariffs on all imports from Russia and Belarus in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The government, which will notify the withdrawal Friday, said in a statement that the increase would begin Apr. 25 and would be added to other measures that are already applied.

Canberra said the ban on all oil and energy product imports, imposed this month, would also come into force on Apr. 25, according to a statement from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Foreign and Trade Ministers Marise Payne and Dan Tehan, respectively.

The decision was announced hours before Ukrainian President Volidímir Zelenski was due to speak in a virtual conference before the Australian parliament and is in line with measures imposed by various allies affiliated with the World Trade Organization as a show of solidarity with Ukraine.

Since the invasion, Australia has imposed punishments against Moscow, including sanctions against some 500 entities and individuals such as banks and government agencies, as well as politicians, including President Vladimir Putin, the military and oligarchs, among others.

Australia also ordered a ban on the export of aluminum minerals, including alumina and bauxite, to Russia, and allocated AUD 156 million ($ 124 million) in aid to Ukraine, in addition to sending lethal military material and defense.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in an offensive by land, sea and air, met with fierce resistance by Ukrainian forces and people and has displaced more than 6.5 million internally and caused 4 million people, almost 10 percent of the population, to leave as refugees.

Moscow said it is attacking Ukraine due to the threat posed by its intention to join NATO and the alleged Nazi infiltration of the government, while Kyiv accuses Russian authorities of wanting to control the country and prevent its rapprochement with Europe and the West. EFE


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