Anthony Albanese pledges a $100million aid package to Ukraine


Australia will provide 34 additional armoured vehicles to Ukraine and prohibit Russian gold imports, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced.

Speaking in Ukraine’s capital in Kyiv alongside President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Mr Albanese said Australia would impose sanctions and travel bans on 16 more Russian ministers and oligarchs.

It brings the total number of Russian individuals sanctioned by Australia to 843.

During a surprise visit to the war-torn European nation, Mr Albanese said Australia would give Ukraine 14 more armoured personnel carriers and 20 Bushmaster vehicles in a new $100 million assistance package.

The extra military funding for the Ukraine takes Australia’s total spending to almost $390 million, more than any other non-NATO country.

Anthony Albanese (left) met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (right) on Sunday

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announces more Russian sanctions and more military aid on his first visit to Ukraine

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announces more Russian sanctions and more military aid on his first visit to Ukraine

‘Australia stands ready to continue to support the government and the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes for Ukraine to emerge victorious in defence of your national sovereignty and your homeland,’ Mr Albanese told the Ukraine president.

‘Because you are fighting for the international rule of law, you are fighting for international rules in which we conduct our activity to be respected and to occur in an orderly way.’

The prime minister’s secret trip to Ukraine was a side trip on his way home from Paris and is expected to return to Australia on Tuesday.

The trip follows an invitation in June from Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, to Mr Albanese to visit the nation’s capital.

Reuters reported that Governor Oleksiy Kuleba wrote on Telegram that Mr Albanese visited the towns of Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel, where Ukraine says Russia committed atrocities against civilians. Russia denies the allegations.

‘Australia supports Ukraine and wants to see justice meted out for the crimes committed here,’ Mr Kuleba quoted Albanese as saying.

Albanese said Australia would impose sanctions and travel bans on 16 more Russian ministers and oligarchs, bringing the total number of Russian individuals sanctioned by Australia to 843

Albanese said Australia would impose sanctions and travel bans on 16 more Russian ministers and oligarchs, bringing the total number of Russian individuals sanctioned by Australia to 843

The trip follows an invitation in June from Ukraine's ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, to Mr Albanese to visit the nation's capital Kyiv

The trip follows an invitation in June from Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, to Mr Albanese to visit the nation’s capital Kyiv

Australia has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pledged $285 million of military aid including armoured personnel carriers and Bushmaster vehicles.

During his Europe visit, Mr Albanese indicated Australia would look to re-establish a diplomatic presence in Ukraine. Australian embassy staff have been working from neighbouring Poland since the Ukraine crisis began.

Mr Albanese is expected back in Australia on Tuesday.

Albanese visited war-torn Ukraine on the heels of the NATO summit to survey the horrific damage caused by Russian forces.

The Prime Minister was tailed closely by Australian and the Ukrainian security teams as he was escorted through Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel, north-west of Kyiv.

Russian soldiers are accused of carrying out a long list of war crimes in the area with several bloody massacres of innocent civilians as well as systematic rapes.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured center), listens to a translator, during his visit to Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 3, 2022.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured center), listens to a translator, during his visit to Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 3, 2022.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured second left) checks damaged buildings by Russian shelling, during his visit to Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured second left) checks damaged buildings by Russian shelling, during his visit to Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, third right, looks at apartment buildings and vehicles damaged by Russian shelling, during his visit to Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, third right, looks at apartment buildings and vehicles damaged by Russian shelling, during his visit to Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine

Kyiv Governor Oleksiy Kuleba wrote on Facebook Sunday night that Mr Albanese was taken aback by the devastation he had witnessed.

‘He was shocked by what he saw: destroyed civilian houses, traces of mines, destroyed Antonov airport,’ Mr Kuleba wrote. 

He added that the Prime Minister said Australia ‘supports Ukraine and advocates fair punishment for the crimes that have taken place here’. 

Mr Kuleba said he was ‘grateful to the (Australian) delegation for their personal visit to the Kyiv region. 

‘The war in Ukraine, in the centre of Europe, must remain in the world agenda.’

Mr Albanese’s visit to Ukraine was a side trip on his way home from Paris on Sunday.

The trip followed an invitation in June from Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, to Mr Albanese to visit the nation’s capital Kyiv.

Australia condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pledged $285million of military aid including armoured personnel carriers and Bushmaster vehicles.

Speaking last week in front of world leaders in Madrid at the largest NATO summit ever held, Mr Albanese said February’s invasion was ‘brutal, illegal and unjustified’.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visits Kyiv region, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visits Kyiv region, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured third left) looks at apartment buildings damaged by Russian shelling, during his visit to Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured third left) looks at apartment buildings damaged by Russian shelling, during his visit to Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, speaks to journalists on the outskirts of Kyiv

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, speaks to journalists on the outskirts of Kyiv

He said the West’s united front against Russia and the fallout from the war was a warning to China and its increasingly aggressive stance in the Pacific. 

During his Europe visit, Mr Albanese indicated Australia would look to re-establish a diplomatic presence in Ukraine. 

Australian embassy staff have been working from neighbouring Poland since the Ukraine crisis began. 

On Australian Defence Force advice there was a total media blackout for the duration of Mr Albanese’s trip to Ukraine.

Though he had repeatedly said in the past week that he had been invited to go there, he did not say if he would be able to make the journey or not.  

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (in dark blue shirt) was shocked by what he saw in a trip to Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (in dark blue shirt) was shocked by what he saw in a trip to Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks to Governor of the Kyiv region Oleksiy Kuleba during his visit to Kyiv region

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks to Governor of the Kyiv region Oleksiy Kuleba during his visit to Kyiv region

The Australian media was instructed not to report on it until the Prime Minister was back in Poland, but foreign media and the governor of Kyiv revealed the visit.

The airspace over Ukraine has been closed since the invasion began on February 24, and the roads into Kyiv are mostly impassable due to heavy fighting.

On Sunday, Russian troops continued to attack the eastern city of Lysychansk and missiles killed dozens across the country.

Before Mr Albanese’s visit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country ‘requires colossal investments – billions, new technologies, best practices, new institutions and, of course, reforms’.

‘The war is not over,’ he said. ‘Unfortunately, its cruelty is only increasing in some places, and it cannot be forgotten.’

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