Ukraine’s ambassador has likened the country’s effort to repel Russia’s invasion to the Anzac experience as Australia moved to strengthen its sanctions against Moscow.
Pure-bred horses, truffles and wine are among a slate of new luxury goods that cannot be exported to Russia under the expansion of Australian sanctions.
The new sanctions also include everything from tobacco to leather and furs to musical instruments on top of an already announced export ban on aluminium ores.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko says Russia’s invasion would help the country create “a new political nation” as the Kremlin strives to implement a new world order.
“This could be similar to the Anzac experience of the Australians of 100 years ago, when the military troops in Europe in the First World War helped shape the identity of Australia as an independent nation,” he said.
“During the past eight years, I have seen how Ukrainians have come to the understanding that we are a sovereign nation. In these trying times, all the Russian speakers, Ukrainian speakers, Catholics, Jews and Muslims are united in fighting the Russian enemy.”
Foreign Minister Marise Payne is travelling to Brussels for a NATO foreign ministers meeting as new action is considered against Russia over its illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Senator Payne said the deliberate shelling of civilians, rape as a weapon of war and mass murder by Russian soldiers were “horrific beyond description”.
“What is important is that the international community does everything it can to hold Russia to account for their actions,” she told the Nine Network.
“The strongest possible focus on ensuring that Russia pays a cost for these actions.”
Defence Minister Peter Dutton used stronger rhetoric, saying the Russian President Vladimir Putin should directly be investigated for war crimes.
“He should be investigated. Action should be taken against him because he’s a brutal autocrat and the use of chemical weapons, the use of brutality against women and children just doesn’t faze him,” Mr Dutton told Seven.
Australia has sent two professionals to the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
Senator Payne also confirmed the Russian ambassador was called into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade again last week, saying “we will continue to review (expelling diplomats) at the highest levels of government”.
Mr Myroshnychenko has called for a strong tranche of sanctions as opposed to the incremental approach the West has taken so far.
“To be frank, the strategy which has been picked of incremental sanctions, it was not the right one,” he told AAP.
“Of course, they go step by step and they make them stronger. But to fully isolate Russia, sanctions have to be very painful and abrupt.”
Mr Myroshnychenko said a weak response from the West after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 emboldened the Kremlin to launch its invasion in 2022.
“Russia killed 14,000 Ukrainians in the first Russian-Ukraine war and everybody kept on buying Russian products,” he said
“(Europe) completed the second Nord Stream and Russia imposed heavy leverage over Europe for the gas supplies and then they totally control it. The German economy and the Italian economy depend on that gas.”
The envoy also called for Australia’s help, using its developed maritime infrastructure to rebuild Ukraine’s port cities, with recovery efforts set to reach the trillions.
A number of world leaders are pressing for tougher sanctions on Russia following indications the country’s forces are behind the death of hundreds of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.
Russia denied the reports, saying Ukraine had staged an event for Western media.
Mr Myroshnychenko told AAP the actions were a crime against humanity.
“We see civilians’ dead bodies lying around the city, many of them have their hands tied up. We are now collecting the evidence from the witnesses,” he said.