Australia rules out ban on Russian tourists as part of sanctions

SYDNEY: Australia will not ban Russian tourists from entering the country as part of sanctions imposed on Russia over the war in Ukraine, Defense Minister Richard Marles said on Sunday.

Since the start of the conflict, Australia has sanctioned hundreds of Russian individuals and entities, including most of the Russian banking sector and all organizations responsible for the country’s sovereign debt.

It also provided defense equipment and humanitarian supplies to Ukraine, while banning exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia.

Asked if Australia would also ban Russian tourists, Marles said the sanctions were aimed at the Russian government, “not the Russian people themselves”.

“It’s not something we’re considering right now,” he told ABC television.

Marles refused to be fired on whether Australia would supply more Bushmasters and other protected vehicles to Ukraine after a recent request from the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia.

“We will look at how we can provide that continued support,” Marles said, calling Australia “one of Ukraine’s biggest non-NATO military supporters.”

In July, Australia pledged 60 Bushmasters and 28 M113AS4 armored vehicles to Ukraine as part of over A$385 million in military aid.