Australian PM Scott Morrison slams China for throwing a 'lifeline' to Russia by easing trade restrictions, while other countries impose sanctions
- Australian PM Scott Morrison said it's "unacceptable" for China to ease trade restrictions on Russia.
- China has lifted restrictions on imports of Russian wheat, even as other countries impose sanctions.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned China for easing its restrictions on Russian wheat amid the Ukraine crisis, even as other countries impose fresh sanctions on Russia.
"You don't go and throw a lifeline to Russia in the middle of a period when they're invading another country," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday morning, per Australia's ABC News.
In his address, he cited a South China Morning Post (SCMP) report that China has fully lifted restrictions on imports of Russian wheat, which had previously been subject to restrictions related to plant disease concerns.
According to the Hong Kong outlet, China's General Administration of Customs made the announcement on Thursday, hours after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. However, the deal was secured earlier this month when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Beijing, per the SCMP.
"At a time when the world was seeking to put additional sanctions on Russia, they have eased restrictions on trade of Russia wheat into China," Morrison said of China. "And that is simply unacceptable."
Countries including Australia, the US, the UK, and Japan, as well as the EU, have hit Russia with sanctions over its attacks on Ukraine.
Australian sanctions would be extended to cover "key Belarusian individuals and entities complicit in the aggression," Morrison said Friday, per The Guardian.
He also vowed to provide Ukraine with nonlethal military equipment and medical supplies, the UK outlet reported.
Meanwhile, Morrison said Russia should lose the right to hold global sporting events, and called on athletes to boycott sports events in Russia.
"All international sporting events in Russia should have their authorizations withdrawn from all international sporting bodies," he said, per Australian news site news.com.au.
"I commend those Australians that are saying they won't participate in anything that is occurring in Russia this year," he continued. "This is the way you impose a cost on Russia that is invading its neighbor."
Australian freestyle skier Danielle Scott, who recently competed in the Winter Games in Beijing, tweeted on Thursday that she would pull out from this weekend's FIS World Cup in Russia organised by the International Ski Federation.
—Danielle Scott (@DanielleSski) February 24, 2022
"Decision has been made to leave Russia and not compete in the final World Cups. I can't believe this is happening... in the uniquely unifying power of sport, I wished so badly for this situation to be different," she wrote.
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