Cyprus Mail

Australia to impose sanctions on 67 more Russians, Austria expels 4 Russian diplomats

the working meeting of the interdepartmental coordination unit of the ministry of defense and the ministry of foreign affairs of russia on the return of refugees to syria in moscow
Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev was one of the 67 Russians sanctioned by the Australian government EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY

Australia will impose financial sanctions and travel bans on an additional 67 Russians over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Thursday, taking the total number of people and entities sanctioned to almost 600.

“Today, I’m announcing 67 further sanctions of Russian elites and oligarchs, those close to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin who facilitate and support his outrageous actions,” she told reporters as she arrived at NATO.

In a media statement issued after her public remarks, Payne said the new listings followed “the emergence of evidence of war crimes committed by Russia in Bucha and other towns around Kyiv”.

Russia has said it launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine and denied accusations of the killing of civilians during its occupation of Bucha, calling it a Ukrainian “provocation”.

Those sanctioned included Russian military official Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Grigorenko, Payne said.

Australia has supplied defence equipment and humanitarian supplies to Ukraine, while imposing a ban on exports of alumina and aluminium ores, including bauxite, to Russia.

Payne said Australia has now sanctioned close to 600 individuals and entities, including most of Russia’s banking sector and all entities responsible for the country’s sovereign debt.

Austria is expelling four Russian diplomats for behaviour incompatible with their diplomatic status, a spokeswoman for its foreign minister said on Thursday, joining a group of European Union countries that have taken similar action this week.

Unlike those other EU countries, which include France, Italy and Germany, the spokeswoman for Alexander Schallenberg did not say the move was because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The three diplomats working at Russia’s embassy and one based in Salzburg must leave Austria by Tuesday, she said.

“The (four) people have acted in a way that is inconsistent with their diplomatic status,” the spokeswoman said in a short statement without elaborating. That phrase is usually used to refer to spying.

Sweden, Denmark, Greece and Romania are also among the EU countries that have announced this week they are expelling Russian diplomats over the war in Ukraine.

The coordinated moves came shortly after images of what appeared to be civilian bodies strewn in the streets of the Ukrainian town of Bucha caused international outrage.

While some EU countries have expelled dozens of Russian diplomats, Austria is declaring “personae non gratae” only a tiny fraction of the Russian diplomats based on its soil.

Austria hosts an unusually large contingent of Russian diplomats because Vienna is home the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and to a United Nations centre that includes U.N. agencies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Larger countries including Russia therefore have three ambassadors in Vienna – one to Austria and one each to the U.N. organisations and the OSCE.

Austria’s Foreign Ministry lists 65 diplomats as working at the Russian embassy. That does not include dozens of others working at the missions to the U.N. in Vienna and to the OSCE.

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