SYDNEY — The Australian government will provide a new A$110 million ($73.5 million) package to Ukraine, including 70 military vehicles to defend against the Russian invasion, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Monday.
The new pledges bring Australia’s total contribution to Ukraine to A$790 million, including A$610 million in military support, since the conflict began in February 2022.
“This additional support will make a real difference, helping the people of Ukraine who continue to show great courage in the face of Russia’s illegal, unprovoked and immoral war,” Albanese said at a press briefing in Canberra.
He said the package was not prompted by events in Russia over the weekend when heavily armed Russian mercenaries briefly took control of the Russian city of Rostov, in one of the biggest challenges to President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power.
“No, we’ve been working on this proposal, with a view to presenting it to cabinet this morning, for some time,” Albanese said.
Australia is one of the largest non-NATO contributors to Western support for Ukraine and has provided aid, ammunition and defense equipment, including dozens of Bushmaster armored vehicles. It banned exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia, and sanctioned approximately 1,000 Russian individuals and entities.
To support Ukraine’s economy and trade, Albanese said Australia would also extend duty-free access for goods imported from Ukraine for another 12 months.
The latest set of military assistance will include 28 M113 armored vehicles, 14 special operations vehicles, 28 medium trucks and 14 trailers.
Albanese said his government welcomed the Australian High Court’s decision to reject a Russian challenge to prevent the federal government from taking control of leased land to build a new embassy near parliament in Canberra.
“We expect the Russian Federation to act in accordance with the court’s decision,” he said.
Australia on June 15 canceled Russia’s lease to build a new embassy citing national security, drawing criticism from the Kremlin which said Canberra’s decision reflected its anti-Russian sentiment.
($1 = 1.4959 Australian dollars)
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