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President Volodymyr Zelensky warns of future wars if the international community fails to act against Russia. Picture: TV/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS
President Volodymyr Zelensky warns of future wars if the international community fails to act against Russia. Picture: TV/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS

Sydney — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Australia’s parliament on Thursday that Russia must be held accountable for past wrongs, warning that a failure to punish Moscow may encourage other countries to wage war against their neighbours.

Zelensky called for new and tougher sanctions to retaliate against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and suggested that years of failure to rein in the global power had emboldened Moscow.

“If we don’t stop Russia now, if we don’t hold Russia accountable, then some other countries of the world who are looking forward to a similar war against their neighbours will decide that such things are possible for them as well,” Zelensky said in the video address, according to an official translation.

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance isn't seeing a pullback of Russian forces in Ukraine and expects "additional offensive actions" in the eastern Donbas region.

No-one can save any part of the world from radioactive [destruction] that [will] come if nuclear weapons are used
 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Zelensky, seated at a desk wearing his trademark khaki T-shirt, did not specify which countries he feared would be inspired by Russia.

Australia and its allies in the West have raised concerns about increasingly aggressive language by China regarding Taiwan, whose independence it disputes.

“The fate of the global security is decided now,” Zelensky said. “No-one can manage to win … no-one can save any part of the world from radioactive [destruction] that [will] come if nuclear weapons are used,” he said.

Western countries say Moscow's invasion, the biggest assault on a European country since World War 2, was entirely unprovoked. Russia says it is carrying out a “special operation” to disarm and “denazify” its neighbour.

Australia has supplied defence equipment and humanitarian supplies to Ukraine, as well as banning exports of alumina and aluminium ores, including bauxite, to Russia.

It has placed a total of 476 sanctions on 443 individuals, including businesspeople close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and 33 entities, including most of Russia's banking sector and all entities responsible for the country's sovereign debt.

On Thursday, Australia said it was imposing an additional 35% tariff on imports from Russia and Belarus, which it said supported the invasion.

Reuters

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