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

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

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

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

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

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

He announced that Australia would donate 70,000 tons of thermal coal to Ukraine at the request of the besieged country.

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

In addition, Australia will increase its humanitarian aid by an additional Aus$30 million (US$22.3 million) and donate another Aus$21 million in defensive military aid to Ukraine, including ammunition and body armor.

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

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

This post Ukraine: Australia bans alumina and bauxite exports to Russia

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