Australia’s prime minister says Ukrainians in Australia whose Australian visas will expire by the end of June will be allowed to stay an additional six months.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also said Thursday that Ukrainians applying for Australian visas will be given priority over other nationalities, Morrison said.
Morrison made the announcement a day after Australia imposed sanctions on eight members of Russia’s Security Council in response to Russia’s actions against Ukraine.
Sanctions have also been placed on a series of banks and financial institution.
Sanctions that have existed since 2014 on the transport, energy, minerals and telecommunications sectors have been extended to rebel-held areas of Ukraine that Russia recognizes as independent.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s president rejected Moscow’s claim that his country poses a threat to Russia and warned that a looming Russian invasion could cause tens of thousands of deaths.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made the comments in a video address early Thursday.
Speaking emotionally in Russia, he said: The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace. But if we come under attack that threaten our freedom and lives of our people we will fight back.
Zelenskyy says he tried to call Russian President Vladimir Putin late Wednesday but the Kremlin remained silent.