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Alumina export ban part of Australia’s next move to target Russia

Scott Morrison says Australia will turn back a ship that was due to collect alumina after the federal government imposed a ban on exporting the material to Russia.

The immediate ban came into effect on Saturday night on Australian exports of alumina, bauxite and aluminium ores to Russia as part of its sanctions regime in response to its violent military invasion of Ukraine.

The Morrison government has said Russia relies on Australia for nearly 20 per cent of its alumina needs, which it uses to make aluminium, one of its key exports and a critical part of its weapons industry.

“Late last week it came to our attention that there was a ship that was due to dock in Australia this week to collect a load of alumina bound for Russia,” Scott Morrison told reporters on Sunday.

“That boat is not going to Russia with our alumina. Last night we put dissensions in place that will prevent that from occurring.”

The export ban comes as part of an expansion of Australia’s sanctions regime against Russia in a bid to deter Putin’s invasion, which the United Nations human rights office says has killed at least 847 civilians.

Camera IconPrime Minister Scott Morrison has announced new sanctions against Russia. NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Morrison said the aluminium export ban demonstrated Australia’s “absolute commitment” to holding the Putin regime to account.

“We won’t cease until we are doing everything we possibly can,” he said.

“We are identifying new things that can be done every single day with our partners and with those around the world to put the maximum pressure on the Putin government withdraw from Ukraine.”

Mr Morrison said Australia would send an additional $30m in emergency humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and $21 million in military assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

He said Australia would also donate 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal to Ukraine in response to a direct request from its government.

He said he understood the coal could provide power to 1 million Ukrainians and that Australia had arranged shipping to get it there.

Mr Morrison said the Australian government had already granted 5,000 visas to Ukrainians fleeing from the conflict, and was prioritising their visa applications.

All Ukrainian arrivals will be offered a temporary humanitarian visa valid for a period of three years, which gives people the opportunity to work, study and access Medicare.

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