Australia sanctions Roman Abramovich, Russian oligarchs over Ukraine attack

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March 14 (UPI) — Australia announced a fresh round of sanctions targeting 33 Russian oligarchs, including Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, and other prominent businessmen over their country’s attack on Ukraine.

The new punitive measures come as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on world leaders to increase sanctions upon Moscow as its offensive enters its 19th day.

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Marise Payne, the minister of foreign affairs, said the new sanctions target wealthy Russians who hold economic and strategic signification to the country, including those in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Alexey Miller, chief executive officer of gas company Gazprom; Dmitri Lebedev, chairman of air carrier Rossiya; and Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive officer of Russian Direct Investment Fund, were among those named for sanctions by Canberra on Monday.

“Australia has joined with our partners in establishing strong, sequential sanctions, with over 460 sanctions place on individuals and entities in the past weeks,” she said in a statement. “We will continue to coordinate closely with our partners to impose a high cost on Russia for its actions.”

The sanctions are in line with those imposed by other democratic countries, including Canada, the United States and the European Union.

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On Sunday, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told CBS’ Face the Nation that the sanctions have already taken a severe bite out of Russia’s economy, and that they expect it to enter a “deep recession.”

“In terms of servicing debt obligations, I can say that no longer we think of Russian default as improbable event,” she said. “Russia has the money to service its debt, but cannot access it.”