Sydney, Australia, Sep 18 (EFE).- Australia would not ban all Russian travelers from entering the country, Defence Minister Richard Marles has said, ruling out making visa restrictions part of sanctions on Moscow over the war in Ukraine.
Marles told the national broadcaster ABC that the sanctions targeted the Russian government, “not the Russian people.”
Asked if Australia would ban Russian tourists, Marles said: “This is not something we are considering at the moment.”
The remarks came after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Western countries, including the European Union, to shut their borders to all Russian nationals — regardless of their stance on the invasion of Ukraine.
“They will understand then. They will say: ‘This (war) has nothing to do with us. The whole population cannot be held responsible, can it?’ It can,” Zelenskyy said in August.
“The population picked this government and they are not fighting it, not arguing with it, not shouting at it.”
The European Union has suspended its special agreement on visas with Russia, which means tougher conditions for citizens of the country who want to travel to the 27-nation bloc.
Poland, Latvia, and the Czech Republic have decided on their own to suspend the granting of visas to Russian tourists, while Finland has restricted access to citizens of Russia.
Australia, the non-NATO member country that has contributed the most military aid to Ukraine, has taken numerous measures against Russia, including sanctions on individuals and entities linked to the military invasion that began on Feb.24.
The Australian government has approved millions of dollars in aid for Ukraine, including the shipment of 50 Bushmaster armored vehicles. EFE