Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne has said her country imposed financial sanctions and travel bans in response to Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine.
"Australia stands united with our partners in opposition to Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine, five years after its illegal annexation of Crimea. Together with the United States, the United Kingdom and other European Union member states, and Canada, we are strong supporters of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," she said, according to a media release posted on her official website.
"Today I announce targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against seven Russian individuals for their role in the interception and seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels that were attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait. Australia is concerned by this escalation of tensions in the Sea of Azov in November 2018," Payne said.
According to the minister, Australia condemns the aggression and calls on Russia to release the detained Ukrainian sailors and seized vessels without delay.
"We also call on Russia to allow free and unencumbered passage of Ukrainian and international ships through the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov," reads the report.
"Australia does not recognise any actions seeking to legitimise the annexation of Crimea or the secession of parts of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions," she stressed.
"I have therefore also imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against three 'leaders' from separatist-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine following so-called elections in November 2018," Payne said.
"We call on Russia to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, including its territorial waters," she added.