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Russia Sanctions Australia, New Zealand

Russia imposed sanctions on Australian and New Zealand citizens, including their prime ministers, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced Thursday.

It said Australia “obediently follows the decisions of the West” and has decided to sanction Russia’s top managers and almost all of its deputies.

As many as 228 Australian citizens, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, members of the Australian National Security Committee, House of Representatives, Senate and regional legislative assembly, have been banned from Russia on decency grounds, it said.

“In the near future, members of the Australian army, businesspeople, experts and members of the media who have contributed to the formation of negative attitudes towards Russia will also be included in the blacklist and announced.”

And a total of 130 New Zealand citizens, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Governor-General Cynthia Kiro and members of the government and parliament were also banned from Russia because of their unfriendly actions against Russia as a matter of reciprocity.

The ministry said the sanctions took effect Thursday.

The Russian war on Ukraine, which started Feb. 24, has drawn international outrage, with the EU, US, and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.

At least 1,611 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 2,227 injured, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be far higher.

More than 4.3 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with millions more internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.