The Australian government has announced it will send anti-amour weapons and ammunition to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces in their battle against Russia’s invading forces.
In a statement on April 8, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the extra military support, worth $26.5 million (US$19.5 million), would aid Ukraine’s forces in responding to Russia’s “unrelenting and illegal aggression.”
So far, Australia has provided $191.5 million of military assistance to Ukraine which Morrison said has “proven critical on the battlefield so far.”
“This extra support comes on top of the 20 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles we announced today that our government is gifting the government of Ukraine,” Morrison said.
On April 8, the first three of 20 Bushmaster military vehicles are being sent from Australia to Ukraine. Built in Bendigo, in the state of Victoria, the vehicles are being outfitted by Thales Australia in Brisbane, in the state of Queensland, to bolt-on extra armour for protection.
The Bushmasters were painted olive green to blend into the Ukrainian environment and feature the country’s flag painted on both sides as a show of unity.
Proud to support the donation of Australian Bushmasters to Ukraine. Built by Thales in Bendigo, our team in Brisbane has worked around the clock to have them ready for airlift to Ukraine today. #australianmade pic.twitter.com/EdXM8nwuXp
— Thales Australia (@ThalesAustralia) April 7, 2022
“Australia may be thousands of kilometres away but we’re standing side by side with Ukraine against this illegal invasion with arms, equipment, aid and even energy sources,” he added.
“This fight is important because not only are Ukrainian lives and their lands at stake, but so are the principles of freedom and the rule of law.
“Australia stands with the people of Ukraine, and again calls on Russia to cease its unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine,” he said.
This comes as the Russian Foreign Ministry announced personal sanctions on all members of the Australian lower house, upper house, and some state legislatures.
The Australian MPs have been barred from entering Russia, including Morrison, Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, and Victorian state Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, who is of Ukrainian descent.
In its statement on April 7, the Russian ministry criticised Australian authorities for following the “collective West” in engaging in “Russophobic” actions and imposing sanctions on top leaders of the Russian Federation.