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Ex PMs among Aussies banned from Russia

Written by on June 28, 2024

Former Prime Ministers Tony Abbott and John Howard are among 27 Australians who will be denied access into Russia for an “indefinite term” under new sanctions as Russia looks to punish those it believes is working against them.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry released the list on Wednesday night local time, declaring the decision was “in response to politically motivated sanctions against Russian individuals and legal entities, imposed by the Government of Australia as part of the Russophobic campaign by the collective West”.

A day before Mr Abbott had told Sky News host Peta Credlin Australia needed to boost its aid to Ukraine as its war with Russia continues.

“They have been given enough not to lose but they haven’t been given enough to win,” Mr Abbott said.

“Australia has been, frankly, embarrassingly dithering … it’s relatively puny assistance to Ukraine.”

A list of eminent Australians, including Mr Abbott and Mr Howard, in April signed a letter calling on the Federal Government to redirect $9bn of frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine, and to pursue the “dirty money” of Russian oligarchs being held in Australia to help further the efforts.

The signatories said in the letter, addressed to Treasurer Jim Chalmers, the Russian central bank has about USD$300bn of frozen assets in the West, including about AUD$9bn in Australia.

Former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, Reverend Bill Crews, ACCI chief executive Andrew Mackellar, NGO leader Mark Textor and former Liberal Party adviser and Ukraine advocate Pete Shmigel were also signatories to the letter and have been named on the new sanction list.

Air Vice-Marshal Stephen Chappell and Vice Chief of the Defence Force Robert Chipman are also named on the list.

Retail union treasurer Gerard Dwyer was also named, alongside several former Australian ambassadors to Ukraine and Russia.

According to the Kremlin statement, those on the list are responsible for “formulating the anti-Russian agenda in (Australia)”.

The statement signalled the list would continue to expand as Russia looks to hit back at those it perceives as “voicing anti-Russia sentiments”.

“Considering the fact that official Canberra does not intend to renounce its anti-Russia line and continues to impose new sanctions, we will update the Russian stop list still further,” it said.

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