Sydney, Australia, Mar 20 (EFE).- Australia Sunday announced an immediate ban on the exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia as part of punitive actions on Moscow for “its unrelenting and illegal aggression against Ukraine.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised more military equipment, 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal, and “an additional $30 million in emergency humanitarian assistance” to the war-ravaged Ukraine that “is showing remarkable courage and resilience as it endures Russia’s unprovoked war.”
The prime minister, in a statement, said the export ban would limit the Russian capacity to produce aluminum – a critical export for Russia.
Russia relies on Australia for nearly 20 percent of its alumina needs.
“Russia is targeting civilians, causing immense suffering…Australia will continue to impose high costs on Russia,” said Morrison.
The export ban follows sanctions on 443 individuals, including many oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
These include oligarch Oleg Deripaska, president of the Russian aluminum company Rusal, which has a 20 percent stake in the Queensland Alumina refinery in Gladstone.
Last week, the Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto, the majority partner of the refinery, said it would cut all commercial ties with Russian companies.
Australia has also sanctioned 33 entities, including most of Russia’s banking sector and those responsible for Russia’s sovereign debt.
Morrison said his government would donate at least 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal to support Ukraine’s energy security after a request from Kyiv.
“(The) government commits to an additional AU$30 million ($22.3 million) in emergency humanitarian assistance. (It) will focus on protecting women, children, the elderly, and the disabled, and takes the total we have so far committed to $65 million,” the statement said.
Morrison said it was clear that Ukraine’s need for military assistance remained urgent and ongoing.
He said his government had “developed an additional $21 million support package of defensive military assistance for Ukrainian Armed Forces, bringing Australia’s total military aid to $91 million.
“The government will continue to identify opportunities to provide further military assistance where it is able to provide required capability to the Ukraine Armed Forces expeditiously.” EFE