Ukraine: Australia bans exports of alumina and bauxite to Russia

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Australia on Sunday announced new sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, immediately banning all alumina and bauxite exports while promising more arms and humanitarian aid.

The export ban aims to impact aluminum production in Russia, which depends on Australia for 20% of its alumina.

It comes just days after Canberra sanctioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has a stake in Queensland Alumina Limited, a joint venture between Russian aluminum company Rusal and mining giant Rio Tinto, which pledged to break all commercial ties with Russia.

A Rio Tinto spokesman said the company “takes note of the government’s announcement today regarding export sanctions” and is still in the process of “terminating all relations commercial relationship it has with any Russian company”.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday his government was working with partners to “put maximum cost, maximum pressure on Putin’s regime to withdraw from Ukraine”.

Morrison said Australia had imposed 476 sanctions against Russian individuals and institutions since the invasion began.

He announced that Australia would donate 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal to Ukraine, following a request from the beleaguered nation.

“We understand it can power up to a million homes,” he said.

In addition, Australia will increase its humanitarian assistance with an additional AU$30 million (US$22.3 million) and will donate an additional AU$21 million in defensive military assistance to Ukraine, including ammunition and bulletproof vests.

In recent weeks, the government has approved nearly 5,000 visas for Ukrainians displaced by the conflict, Morrison added.

He announced that Ukrainian refugees would be eligible for a new three-year humanitarian visa, allowing them to work, study and access the country’s healthcare system.

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