Prime Minister Tony Abbott has banned uranium exports to Russia and made Kiev the latest site for an Australian embassy.

Australia will step up pressure on Russia by banning uranium sales and support Ukrainian sovereignty by opening an embassy in Kiev.

The interim embassy will initially assist nine Australian Federal Police officers who remain in Ukraine for the investigation of the downed flight MH17.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told parliament on Wednesday Australia would no longer sell uranium to Russia until further notice.

“Australia has no intention of selling uranium to a country which is so obviously in breach of international law as Russia currently is,” Mr Abbott said.

The government is also considering short-term support to Ukraine through aid and “non-lethal military assistance”.

It will consider a civil and military capacity build-up in Ukraine in the medium term.

The prime minister said Australia would do whatever it could to help its friends.

“I am pleased that our flag will shortly fly alongside Ukraine’s as a sign of our support in these troubled times,” he said.

The Ukraine crisis will be one of the key topics for talks at a NATO summit in Wales being attended by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop this week.

At the summit Australia will be formally granted “enhanced partner” status of the security group.

Russia has declared NATO a major threat after the western military alliance announced plans to reinforce defences in eastern Europe because of the Kremlin’s perceived stoking of war in Ukraine.

The US says Russia has grossly violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Russian-backed separatists have been blamed for shooting down flight MH17, killing 298 passengers and crew including 38 Australians.

Australia and Russia reached a nuclear cooperation agreement in November 2010 which led to a trial shipment of uranium ore in 2012.

Mr Abbott is set to sign a similar agreement with India during a trip this week.