Ukrainians in Australia whose visas are set to expire by the end of June will be permitted to stay an extra six months, according to Australia’s prime minister.
The news: Ukrainians applying for Australian visas will be given precedence over other nationalities, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.
- Morrison made the announcement one day after Australia imposed sanctions on eight members of Russia’s Security Council in retaliation for Russia’s activities in Ukraine.
- A number of banks and financial institutions have also been sanctioned.
- Sanctions on the transportation, energy, mining, and telecommunications sectors, which have been in place since 2014, have now been extended to rebel-held parts of Ukraine that Russia recognises as autonomous.
- Meanwhile, Ukraine’s president dismissed Moscow’s contention that his country is a security concern, warning that a Russian invasion may result in tens of thousands of deaths.
- In a video message delivered early Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made the remarks.
- In an emotional speech in Russia, he stated, “The people of Ukraine and the Ukrainian government desire peace. However, if we are attacked in a way that threatens our freedom and the lives of our citizens, we will fight back.”
Late Wednesday, Zelenskyy attempted to contact Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the Kremlin remained mute.