Australia has joined other countries in slapping harsh new sanctions on Russia to help deter the country’s actions in Ukraine.
All goods from Russia and Belarus entering Australia would face an additional 35 per cent tariff from the end of April, the federal government has announced.
It comes ahead of an address to Australia by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday evening.
The move will likely see bottles of Russian vodka costing Australians more, as many retailers have already chosen to remove the liqour from their shelves.
It is hoped the economic costs imposed on Russia will help pressure President Vladimir Putin to withdraw from Ukraine.
A formal notification will be delivered on April 1, withdrawing entitlement to the most-favoured-nation (MFN) tariffs for the two countries, to come into effect from April 25.
“Australia supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and continues to call on Russia to cease its unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine,” a joint government statement said.
Canada was the first country to remove MFN status for Russia at the start of this month, resulting in a 35 per cent jump in import tariffs, followed by the UK removing the status for certain goods in mid-March.
“The measures will cause maximum harm to Putin’s war machine while minimising the impact on UK businesses as G7 leaders unite to unleash a fresh wave of economic sanctions on Moscow,” a statement from the UK government said at the time.
The sanctions, along with those already imposed on trade and individuals, are the harshest imposed by Australia on any nation.
This includes listing more than 500 individuals and entities to date.
In support of Ukraine, Australia is also providing $91m in military assistance and $65m in humanitarian aid.
Those fleeing the country can also apply for temporary protection visas and assistance.
A previously announced prohibition on imports of oil and other energy products will begin on April 25.
“We strongly support similar action by our international partners to revoke MFN trading arrangements with Russia and Belarus, consistent with their national processes,” the statement said.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure Russia is held to account for its actions.”