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Ukraine disaster: Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich hit with sanctions by Australia

The Australian Government has slapped sanctions on the Russian billionaire owner of the Chelsea soccer club.

The latest round of sanctions also include more than 30 other Russian oligarchs, prominent business people and immediate family members.

It comes after Roman Abramovich was disqualified from running the English Premier League club after the British Government imposed an asset freeze and travel ban on him.

Mr Abramovich was one of seven wealthy Russians targeted by the UK Government in sanctions last week, which involved asset freezes, travel bans and an embargo on transactions with British individuals and businesses.

Australia’s new sanctions cover the chief executive of multinational energy corporation Gazprom, the chair of Russian defence conglomerate Rostec, the head of state-controlled oil pipeline company Transneft, the chairman of a development bank and the bodd of an investment fund.

“The sanctions reinforce Australia’s commitment to sanction those people who have amassed vast personal wealth and are of economic and strategic significance to Russia,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.

“Many of these oligarchs have facilitated, or directly benefited, from the Kremlin’s illegal and indefensible actions in Ukraine since 2014.”

A view shows the area near the regional administration building, which city officials said was hit by a missile attack, in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy
Camera IconRussian forces have destroyed Ukrainian cities. Credit: VYACHESLAV MADIYEVSKYY/REUTERS

Ukraine’s top diplomat in Australia accused Russia of instigating genocide as tanks deliberately target residential buildings.

Charge d’Affaires Volodymyr Shalkivskyi says fleeing through humanitarian corridors being offered by Russia has become risky because troops do not always honour the safe passage.

“We would like everyone who is on our side to send a strong message to Moscow that this kind of atrocity in the 21st century is not possible and Russia will pay the price,” he told Adelaide radio station 5AA.

“We are determined to defend our country. There are no indications so far we can find compromise regarding peaceful resolution.”

Thousands of troops and civilians have been killed by Russian forces, including 85 children ranging from three months to 16 years old, the envoy said.

“This is genocide because hitting residential areas is a clear sign of genocide. Russia means to take out Ukrainian ethnicity from the map,” Mr Shalkivskyi said.

“They would like to integrate Ukrainians into Russia without allowing us to have our culture, our language and our history.”

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