Tony Abbott, Barack Obama: Western leaders 'banned' from Russian airport's duty-free shop

Tony Abbott, David Cameron, Barack Obama and four other Western leaders have been banned from purchasing duty-free goods at a Russian airport.

While it appears unlikely that Tony Abbott, David Cameron or Barack Obama  will be heading to Vladivostok for a holiday – they will be unable to stock up on cut-price Stolichnaya at its international airport should they choose to do so.

A sign banning Mr Abbott, Mr Cameron, Mr Obama, as well as Germany's Angela Merkel, Canada's Stephen Harper, France's Francois Hollande and Japan's Shinzo Abe recently appeared in the far eastern city and was posted on Instagram by the writer Michael Idov, i100 reports.

"In line with the decision of Duty-Free shop Administration these persons are not welcome here and will not be attended to a customer [sic] in this shop," it reads.

Six Ukrainian politicians – including president Piotr Poroshenko, prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and Vitali Klitschko, the former heavyweight boxer and current mayor of Kiev – are also banned, according to the notice.

While rudimentary signs denying entry to Mr Obama have appeared on shop windows across Russia in recent weeks, presumably in response to economic sanctions against Russia, Mr Idov expressed surprise at how professional the Vladivostok sign appeared.

"What took me aback in this case was both the placement - the international lounge of an international airport, in a city that has just hosted a great international music festival - and the sleekness of the design," he told i100. "I can't imagine this sign being installed without the approval of the airport authorities. It truly boggles the mind. It seems like what started as a bad grassroots joke is quickly becoming a bad institutional one."

Yesterday Mr Cameron warned Russia that it should expect tougher economic sanctions if it did not reverse its course of action in Ukraine.

The Telegraph, London