New Zealand, South Korea announce new sanctions on Russia

Moves are latest measures intended to punish Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

New Zealand’s government said on Monday that it will introduce legislation to allow it to bring first-of-its-kind sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the sanctions will give the country the ability to freeze Russian assets in New Zealand, prevent people and companies from moving their money and assets to the country to escape sanctions imposed by other countries, and stop superyachts, ships and aircraft from entering New Zealand waters or airspace.

Ardern also released a list of 100 individuals banned from travelling to New Zealand.

New Zealand has previously only been able to implement sanctions when the United Nations Security Council has imposed them. The Security Council will not be able to impose sanctions against Russia as Russia has the power to veto them.

Ardern said the government was forced to introduce the new legislation because of limits in the current multilateral system.

“Ultimately if we had a security council that was more functional we would not be facing this issue in the first place,” said Ardern.

Meanwhile, South Korea has decided to sever transactions with Russia’s central bank and immobilise any assets held by the bank in the won, in the country’s latest move to join Western countries’ efforts to ratchet up sanctions against Moscow.

South Korea’s finance ministry will release more details, including the scope of further sanctions which “will be in line with US financial sanctions,” later on Monday, an official with the country’s finance ministry said.

The move comes after Seoul earlier announced it would ban exports of strategic items, block some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system, and boost aid to Ukraine.

The restricted items will include electronics, semiconductors, computers, information and communications, sensors and lasers, navigation and avionics, and marine and aerospace equipment.

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