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Australia reaffirms support for Ukraine

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has reaffirmed Australia’s support for the Ukrainian people as the nation marks 31 years of independence.

But some are worried six months into Russia’s invasion, support could wane for the war-torn nation.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko has called for Australia to continue sending aid and increasing its investment to help the nation rebuild.

“Nobody knows how long this is going to continue, because that depends on Russia,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

“We will keep on fighting until we repel the Russians from Ukraine, until we restore the sovereignty – we don’t have any other choice.

“It’s important that Australia keeps on doing it because that is a vital investment into the future, into the security in the Indo-Pacific, into the standards of living here in Australia.”

The ambassador is travelling around Australia speaking to state governments to lobby for increased investment and economic ties.

Mr Albanese said the two nations would continue to celebrate “the bonds of humanity through which we will surely find the peace we seek”.

“On your Independence Day, Australia celebrates the contribution of Australians of Ukrainian descent and the more than 3800 Ukrainians we have welcomed since February,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“You share gifts of culture, faith and history that enrich us all.

“We are one with you and we share in your sorrow at the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine.”

Australia was steadfast in its support for the besieged nation as it struggled to defend itself against Russian aggression, he said.

“Ukraine’s resistance against Russia’s brutal invasion is a test of the world’s commitment to the ideals of democracy and the integrity of international borders,” Mr Albanese said.

The EU’s outgoing ambassador to Australia has raised concerns about faltering Ukrainian aid.

“The real challenge for us is what I would call a certain fatigue that may set in because we are now seeing this will become a war of attrition,” Michael Pulch told AAP in an interview recorded last week.

“The war will continue for quite some time to come.

“That means we have to be prepared to continue that level of support for Ukraine in order to stand up against Russian aggression.”

A PhD scholar in Russian politics at Monash University says there are concerns European nations with economic ties to Russia will wane in their support for Kyiv.

“There are concerns the West is fragmenting in its support for Ukraine, in particular whether European Union countries, which have much stronger economic ties with Russia, will waver in their support,” Alasdair McCallum said.

The opposition also expressed support on Wednesday, calling on the federal government to do everything necessary to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of support for Ukraine.

“Australia has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine and continues to condemn Russia’s abhorrent actions,” Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said in a joint statement with his defence and foreign affairs spokesmen.

“This 31st Independence Day will be a difficult day for many Ukrainians, as it also marks exactly six months since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We grieve for those whose lives have been lost, including many women and children.”

Public celebrations in Ukraine have been cancelled and the US warned its citizens to leave amid fears of new Russian attacks.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned of more strikes as officials banned public gatherings in the capital Kyiv and imposed a curfew in the eastern city of Kharkiv.

Ukraine broke free of the then-Soviet Union in August 1991 after an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians voted in a referendum to declare independence.

with Reuters

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