Australia has imposed sanctions against one individual and four companies from Russia associated with the construction and operation of the railway section of the Crimean Bridge, the country's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.
"Australia has imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against a Russian individual and four Russian companies connected to the construction and operation of the Kerch Strait Railway Bridge," Payne said.
The bridge, she claimed, was an attempt to "consolidate Russia’s control of the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula."
Payne said that Australia continued to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in coordination with international partners.
"Today’s announcement is made in coordination with Canada and aligns with action taken by the United Kingdom and European Union," she said.
On Monday, Global Affairs Canada announced that Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau imposed sanctions on two Russian executives and four entities in response to the decision of the Crimean people to rejoin Russia. Later, the Russian Embassy in Canada issued a statement, noting that this decision was "based on lies, historical revisionism and disregard for reality" - given that Crimea is a Russian territory and has been an integral part of the country for centuries, despite a brief 23-year stint within Ukraine’s borders.
Just a week ago, Ottawa announced it sanctioned nine senior Russian officials in line with similar measures taken earlier by the United States and the European Union over the case of Russian vlogger Alexey Navalny. Following the announcement, the Russian Foreign Ministry blamed Canada’s ruling elite for reducing bilateral relations with Russia to historic lows and vowed that the Russian response will be tough and shortly forthcoming.
Crimea rejoined Russia on March 16, 2014, after over 95 percent of voters backed the move in a referendum, which followed a violent power change in Ukraine. Two days later, an agreement on Crimea's accession to the Russian Federation was signed.
The Russian leadership has repeatedly stated that Crimean residents democratically, in full compliance with international law and the UN Charter, voted for reunification with Russia. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Crimea issue is "closed."