NZ joins in 'personal sanctions' over Crimea

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Last updated 15:51 23/03/2014
Murray McCully
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IN EUROPE: Minister McCully attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during his official visit to Warsaw, Poland, earlier this week.

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New Zealand has joined the countries imposing travel bans on those Russian and Ukrainians seen as responsible for the crisis in Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully today said New Zealand had made it clear that Russia's actions regarding Ukraine and Crimea are unacceptable.

"We have confirmed that New Zealand will not recognise the outcome of the referendum in Crimea," McCully said.

"Applying sanctions will position New Zealand alongside other members of the international community who have condemned the breach of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Targeted individuals would be banned from obtaining visas to enter New Zealand.

"We will update and revise the list of those covered by the sanctions based on future developments," he said.

"These travel sanctions are a modest and careful step designed to recognise the significance of the situation but leave room for further diplomatic work to take place."

"We continue to encourage Russia to behave in a manner consistent with its treaty obligations and the principles of international law, and call on all parties to take immediate steps to reduce tensions," McCully said.

The list of those facing the sanctions was not immediately available.

Speaking from Singapore, on his way back from Europe where he held meetings with European counterparts, McCully said the likely list would cover "roughly 20" individuals.

He would not be releasing the names, which had been finalised after consultation with other countries. Australia was likewise not making its list public.

The individuals would know only if they sought a visa to travel here.

The list would continue to be reviewed and updated.

He said New Zealand was not a mainstream player in the international diplomatic effort and today's move was largely symbolic.

But it would not have been the right look to do nothing when others were imposing sanctions.

New Zealand had earlier effectively put on hold free trade talks with Russia, which are nearing conclusion.

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