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Albanese announces $100 million in military aid for Ukraine, pledging support for ‘as long as it takes’

Albanese announces $100 million in military aid for Ukraine, pledging support for ‘as long as it takes’

Australia has given Ukraine another $A100 million in military aid, and Anthony Albanese has pledged Australia will continue support for the embattled country “for as long as it takes for Ukraine to emerge victorious”.

Albanese inspected devastated areas in and around the capital Kyiv, going to the towns of Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel, and met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a visit that winds up his trip to Europe.

But he did not say when Australia might reopen its embassy in the war-torn country. He has indicated Australia wants to do so as soon as possible, depending on security advice.

Albanese, who travelled by train from Poland into Ukraine, met with Zelenskyy for two hours on Sunday, and they held a joint news conference.

The latest military aid brings to about $388 million Australia’s total military assistance to Ukraine. Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to Ukraine’s defence.

The new package includes:

  • miliitary aid worth $99.5 million including 14 armoured personnel carriers, 20 Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles and other equipment supplied by Australia’s defence industry, plus a contribution to NATO’s Ukraine assistance fund

  • $8.7 million to help upgrade border management equipment, improve cyber security and enhance border operations

  • duty free access for Ukrainian imports to Australia, complementing similar trade measures taken by other countries

  • Australian intervention at the International Court of Justice to support Ukraine’s case against Russia

  • financial sanctions and travel bans on 16 more Russian ministers and oligarchs

  • prohibition of imports of Russian gold to Australia – again in line with partner countries.

“Russia’s brutal invasion is a gross violation of international law,” said Albanese. “I saw first-hand the devastation and trauma it has inflicted on the people of Ukraine.”

“My visit to Kyiv and recent visits by other world leaders sends a clear message that democratic nations like Australia will stand side-by-side with the Ukrainian people in their time of need.

"President Zelenskyy’s leadership has rallied the Ukrainian people to defend their country and inspired the world to support humanity and freedom. The road ahead is hard but I am confident Ukraine will prevail.”

The prime minister described Ukraine as fighting for the international rule of law. “We saw residential buildings that have been the subject of brutal assault from missiles and other weapons,” he said. “Clearly civilian areas have been targeted by Russian forces as part of this illegal and amoral war.”

This article originally appeared on The Conversation.

Images: Twitter

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