Australia on Monday unveiled fresh sanctions against Russia over what Prime Minister Tony Abbott called its "bullying" of neighboring Ukraine, where the Kremlin is accused of backing pro-Russian insurgent groups battling the government in Kiev.

The sanctions, which restrict arms exports and the access of Russian state-owned banks to Australian capital markets, build on financial sanctions and travel bans enacted by Australia in March.

"So far, at least 2,500 people have lost their lives in this conflict. Let's be clear about what is happening here. Russia started it and Russia must take responsibility for this loss of life," Abbott told parliament.

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