Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Australia will send more military and humanitarian aid, along with 70,000 tons of thermal coal, to respond to Ukraine’s calls for more aid.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Australia will provide further support to Ukraine as it continues to resist the Russian invasion.
On Sunday, the prime minister said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had asked for more Australian aid.
“In our discussions over the past few weeks, they have asked for more weapons, for more humanitarian aid,” he said.
“They’ve also asked us for our coal to help bolster their resistance to help them deal with the energy situation and needs in their own country, which is exactly what we’re going to do.”
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Mr Morrison announced that Australia would respond to Mr Zelensky’s calls by providing an additional $21 million in military aid, an additional $30 million in emergency humanitarian aid and 70,000 tons of thermal coal.
The military aid includes ammunition, body armor and military equipment, while the coal is mined in Australia and will “help increase their resistance”.
“We understand that it (coal) can power around a million homes and this is incredibly important,” said Mr Morrison.
Ukraine relies heavily on coal and nuclear energy to power its cities, but Russian forces have seized the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the country’s largest.
Australia’s additional $30 million in humanitarian aid will be split into four sectors to help those most at risk.
The humanitarian aid includes $10 million for education and essential protection for children, people with disabilities and those at risk of gender-based violence.
The government’s support also includes $8 million for the United Nations Population Fund to protect displaced women and girls from gender-based violence and to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services.
Another $10 million to the World Food Program to address critical food shortages, with the final $2 million going to the Emergency Action Alliance Ukraine Appeal.
Secretary of State Marise Payne said the invasion created the “fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II”.
“Currently we see about 6.5 million people displaced and another 3.3 million people have fled to neighboring countries, more than half of them are children,” she said.
“That actually represents about a quarter of Ukrainians who are forced to leave their homes.”
The prime minister continued to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military claims, labeling them “disgraceful”.
“We know that Russia’s actions are targeting civilians and it is disgraceful, causing massacre and destruction, unimaginable suffering and the exodus of more than 3 million people,” he said.
Australia has now provided $91 million in military aid, $65 million in humanitarian aid, 5,000 visas for Ukrainian refugees and 70,000 tons of coal.
The prime minister said Ukraine is “extremely grateful” for the support Australia had already provided, but further help was needed to help Russian forces continue to rebel.
The government has also imposed 476 sanctions on 443 individuals and 33 entities in Russia.
On Sunday, the prime minister also announced that a ship that would collect a cargo of Australian alumina before heading to Russia would be stopped.
“That boat is not going to Russia with our alumina, last night we put in place the sanctions that will prevent that,” he said.
“The government has imposed an immediate ban on Australian exports of alumina and aluminum ore.”