New financial sanctions and travel bans to Australia will be imposed on 67 people for their role in the ‘unprovoked, unjust and unlawful invasion of Ukraine’, as Foreign Secretary confirms new partnership with Center Excellence in NATO Strategic Communications.
The Center of Excellence, based in Latvia, undertakes research, analysis and training, and develops technical expertise, for the strategic communications capabilities of NATO, NATO Allies and NATO Partners .
Foreign Secretary Marise Payne said an Australian official would be sent to Riga, Latvia next month and plans were under way on how Australia could become a longer-term partner term of the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence.
Australia’s partnership with the multinational organization will initially focus on countering hybrid threats and efforts to counter disinformation.
“The importance of improving strategic communications has been underscored by Russia’s use of disinformation and propaganda during its unlawful and unprovoked war against Ukraine,” Payne said in a statement.
“I discussed these challenges today with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.”
Payne said Australia’s partner status was an “enhanced opportunity” with NATO. The nature of the relationship involves work on interoperability, participation in certain training programs and military exercises, and the exchange of views of mutual interest.
“[This highlights our] shared commitment to democracy, human rights and the rules-based international order.
“We will offer the center a clear view of the geostrategic dynamics in the Indo-Pacific and the implications for NATO,” the foreign minister said, noting that the engagement also demonstrated the strong bilateral relationship between the Australia and Latvia.
This week, Australia also stepped up its sanctions against Moscow following evidence of Russian war crimes in Bucha and other towns around Kyiv.
“Australia condemns these atrocities in the strongest possible terms,” Payne said.
“The Australian government is committed to imposing the highest costs on those who bear responsibility for Russia’s aggression in Ukraine or hold the levers of power.
“The Australian Government reiterates its strongest support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine,” she said.
Today, Russia imposed sanctions on members of the Australian Parliament and others. This will not deter Australia from its support for Ukraine and its actions to impose costs on Russia. @scottmorrisonMP @dmytrokuleba
— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) April 7, 2022
Nearly 600 individuals and entities are now subject to Australian sanctions that were imposed in relation to Russia’s illegal war.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Grigorenko, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov, Russian State Duma Deputy Speaker Aleksander Babakov and other senior Russian government officials are among those targeted by the new sanctions .
“Those who have been sanctioned include prominent Russian military officer Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, who has been described as the ‘butcher of Mariupol’, for attacks including the bombing of the theater in which innocent civilians were sheltering in Mariupol,” Payne said Thursday.
“In addition, we also cite the so-called ‘mayor’ of Melitopol, installed by the Kremlin, the Ukrainian Galina Danilchenko, and a member of the Ukrainian parliament, Oleg Voloshyn, who worked with Russia to undermine the Ukrainian government. “
Overnight, the United Nations General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from its Human Rights Council with 93 votes in favor. It is the third resolution against Vladimir Putin’s regime since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
Prime Minister announces ‘significant costs for Russia’s aggression’ as Australia joins allies in imposing sanctions