Article by Rohan Smith courtesy of the Herald Sun.
Russia has named 121 people in Australia who it says are banned from the country for “Russiaphobia”.
Aussies on the list are firing back — mining magnate Gina Rinehart used the news to call for “capable missiles, war drones, and more”.
Russia has announced sanctions on an additional 121 Australian citizens, including business people, reporters and defence officials, citing a “Russophobia agenda”.
The blacklist has been put together in response to “the growing sanctions of the Australian government, which apply to an increasing number of Russian citizens,” according to Russia’s foreign ministry.
“Taking into account that the official Canberra does not seem inclined to abandon its anti-Russia policy line and continues to produce new sanctions, Russia will continue updating its stop list,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Among the individuals now barred from entering the country “indefinitely” are journalists from The Australian, ABC News, Sydney Morning Herald and Sky News, as well as various defence officials, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
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Other people on the list include Defence Force Chief General Angus Campbell, AI researcher Toby Walsh, ABC Chair Ita Buttrose, 60 Minutes reporter Liz Hayes, and The Australian’s editor-in-chief Christopher Dore.
Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart, Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes, Andrew Forrest and South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas have also been added to the list.
Russia has accused the sanctioned figures of promoting a “Russophobia agenda” and said that the blacklist would be expanded in the future.
Rinehart is among the latest to send a strong message in retaliation.
She said she has visited Russia a number of times and has friends there but knows that speaking out against the war in Ukraine is more important.
“Much as I have very nice Russian friends and enjoyed very much my two visits to St Petersburg, and would love to revisit, I would not wish to do so if not welcomed, or if I have concerns for my safety,” she said in a statement.
“If speaking out in the manner above means I can never visit Russia again in my lifetime, so be it.”
Rinehart said Australia “urgently (needs) millions of smart mines in our thousands of kilometres of otherwise indefensible oceans, and capable missiles, war drones, and more”.
Australian billionaire and mining magnate Gina Rinehart says she would like to return to Russia but needed to speak out.
In April, Moscow announced entry bans on the leaders of Australia and New Zealand in tit-for-tat measures after Canberra and Wellington imposed sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Russian military commanders and close associates of Putin, along with press secretary Dmitry Peskov and Foreign Ministry director of information Maria Zakharova were among those sanctioned.
Russia announced a similar move against dozens of British journalists on Tuesday, in what Moscow said was a response to Western sanctions and the “spreading of false information about Russia”.
The South Australian Premier took shots at Russia after being the first Australian premier to be black-listed.
“What we’re dealing with here is a Russian aggressor … who needs to be called out,” Mr Malinauskas said.
He said he was “grateful” that the Russian President had been paying attention to the leading role South Australia had been playing in “standing up for the democratic values that we collectively, as a country, hold dear”.
“Upon coming to government, my government sought to do a number of things to send a very clear message that the people of South Australia stands firmly with Ukraine, as does every state and territory, and I’m grateful for the fact Mr Putin took notice,” Mr Malinauskas said.
“With my Lithuanian heritage, my family knows all too well the human tragedy that can occur in the face of unacceptable Russian aggression, and I’m very proud of the fact that my government has played a leadership role and look forward to doing so in the future.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he would consider meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy later this month during his week-long jaunt to Europe for the NATO summit.
“I will take appropriate advice and obviously there are security issues in terms of such a visit,” Mr Albanese said.
“I appreciate the spirit in which (a meeting) has been offered and one of the reasons why Australia has been invited to NATO is that Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to give support to Ukraine in its defence of its national sovereignty against Russia’s illegal, immoral invasion, and we will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine.”
— with Megan Palin
Originally published as Gina Rinehart fires back after being named on list of Aussies banned from Russia