Joint media release:
- Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne
The Australian Government condemns President Putin's declaration today that the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine are independent states.
This flagrantly undermines Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and has no validity under international law. We also condemn President Putin's announcement that Russia is deploying so-called “peacekeepers” to eastern Ukraine. These personnel are not peacekeepers.
The Australian Government is coordinating closely with the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and other governments around the world to ensure there are severe costs for Russia's aggression. Along with our partners, we are prepared to announce swift and severe sanctions that would target key Russian individuals and entities responsible for undermining Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
We continue to urge all Australians to leave Ukraine immediately. Do not delay. The safety of Australians and officials is our priority.
Due to the increased risk, Australian officials have been directed to depart Ukraine. Our Embassy and operations in Lviv are now temporarily closed. Australian officials have been deployed to eastern Poland and Romania to assist Australians seeking to depart Ukraine.
Australia stands in solidarity with Ukraine and continues to call on Russia to cease and reverse its unprovoked assault on its democratic neighbour.
Australians in Ukraine seeking consular assistance should call DFAT's 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 or +61 2 6261 3305 outside Australia.