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Ukraine disaster: Anthony Albanese pledges $100m in military aid to war-torn country

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has promised an extra $100 million in military aid to Ukraine and labelled Russia’s bombing of Kyiv as a war crime.

Mr Albanese visited the towns of Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel near the capital under very tight security, before meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.

In war-torn Irpin he described what he saw as “devastating”.

“Here we have what; clearly a residential building,” Mr Albanese said.

“Another one just behind it. Brutally assaulted. You know, this is a war crime.”

Mr Albanese pledged to provide Ukraine with an additional 14 armoured personnel carriers, and 20 more Bushmaster vehicles and drones.

Anthony Albanese and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Camera IconAnthony Albanese and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Credit: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

The $99.5 million boost is on top of a previously announced $285 million in military assistance, which included 40 Bushmasters and artillery pieces and $65 million in humanitarian assistance.

Australia’s aid to Ukraine now totals about $390 million.

Mr Albanese also announced a ban on imports of Russian gold and sanctions and travel bans on 16 more Russian ministers and oligarchs, bringing the total number to 843 individuals and 62 entities targeted.

Meeting with Mr Zelensky, the Prime Minister reaffirmed Australia’s support for Ukraine and promised to back the nation.

“I pay tribute to the courage, resilience, bravery and determination of you as the leader of Ukraine, of your defence force, but importantly as well of your entire population who are determined to stand up to a bully which is breaching international law without any provocation or any excuse,” Mr Albanese said.

“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.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, center, listens to a translator, during his visit to Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv.
Camera IconAustralian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, center, listens to a translator, during his visit to Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv. Credit: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Mr Zelensky thanked his Australian counterpart for visiting and for the support.

“Our defenders highly appreciated, in particular, the Australian Bushmaster armoured personnel carriers and other specific assistance from Australia,” he said.

“I am grateful to Australia for its firm, unyielding position on this issue.”

Mr Zelensky said “Russia’s aggressive potential” must be broken through stronger international cooperation.

He had addressed the Australian parliament in May, when he asked for further military support, saying Ukrainian forces needed Bushmasters.

Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to the effort to support Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia in February.

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