Australia expands sanctions against Russia after attack on Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaking during a press conference in Sydney, on Feb 24, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australia will expand financial sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday (Feb 24), adding 25 military persons, four weapons technology companies and four banks to its sanctions list.

There will be further waves of sanctions, including "moving on over 300 members of the Russian parliament", Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

He added: "We must ensure there is a cost for this violent, unacceptable and egregious behaviour."

On Wednesday, Australia had announced, in concert with Western allies, sanctions on Russian individuals it believes were responsible for Russia's actions against Ukraine and had flagged "subsequent tranches of sanctions".

On Thursday, Mr Morrison said the second tranche included 25 Russian army commanders, deputy defence ministers and mercenaries, as well as four entities involved in the development and sale of military technology and weapons.

Another four financial institutions would be added to the five Russian banks sanctioned a day earlier. "It's very important that the world acts together," he said.

Earlier, Mr Morrison said Australia must prepare itself for likely cyberattacks from Russia.

"Cyber attacks are a real threat, and they're a present threat and that is the most likely response from Russia in terms of what we've done," Mr Morrison told Channel Nine news when asked if he expected any retaliation from Russia over sanctions.

Mr Morrison's comments come as a newly discovered piece of destructive software was found circulating in Ukraine hitting hundreds of computers, researchers at the cybersecurity firm ESET said on Wednesday.

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