Australia is looking for new ways to support Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion, the acting prime minister said.
Richard Marles said Australia had pledged nearly $300 million in aid to Ukraine so far, though not everything had been handed over yet.
When Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia called Vasyl Myroshnychenko to supply more Bushmaster vehicles to the Eastern European nation, Mr Marles agreed that assistance was needed.
“We are also looking at other ways we can support Ukraine,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
“While Ukraine is a long way from Australia, we truly see that the principles at stake in the conflict – which is essentially that the rules-based world order that Australia stands for and has helped build and protect – must be everywhere. protected.”
While Prime Minister Anthony Albanian weighs an invitation to visit the war-torn country, Myroshnychenko said Australia was one of the country’s key allies against Russian aggression.
“Australia is hitting above its weight,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.
“There is a tradition of Australia standing up to bullying, and Prime Minister Albanian understands that very well.
“(The new government) hasn’t been able to announce a new aid package yet, but I’m sure it’s in the works, I’m sure it’s coming.”
Australia has pledged to deliver 40 Bushmasters to Ukraine, 20 of which have already arrived.
Myroshnychenko said the cost of reconstruction in Ukraine from the war would be at least $1 trillion and it would take “a generation or two” to fully recover.
Although the prime minister has not yet indicated whether he will visit Kiev, Myroshnychenko said other world leaders have made the trip despite the danger.
“When I say no one is safe in Ukraine, that’s just the reality of the war — because it’s war,” he said.
“(British Prime Minister) Boris Johnson visited Ukraine last week. We have had the visit from the Italian, German and French leaders … visitors come regularly.”
Should Albanians go to Ukraine, it would be the first time an Australian prime minister has done so.
“Australia is very well regarded in Ukraine…everyone has been very positively surprised by how Australia has been able to stand out in this war because we were so far away before, in the past,” Myroshnychenko said.
“My president has assured me that Prime Minister Albanian is very welcome, he would like to see him.”
Myroshnychenko also expressed hope that Australian Ambassador to Ukraine Bruce Edwards could return to the country.
Since the start of the crisis, Australian embassy staff have been working from Poland.
In the latest fighting, Russian missiles hit a center in the city of Kremenchuk, killing at least 16 people.
The invasion will be the main topic of discussion at the upcoming NATO summit in Spain, where Australia will attend.
Mr Albanian says the meeting will be crucial in dealing with the war.
“This ruthless invasion is having real consequences for the people of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine are inspiring the world with its struggle to defend their national sovereignty while fighting this ruthless invasion,” he said.