The Commonwealth government has committed to providing additional military support to Ukraine amid its ongoing struggle against Russia.
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Australia has joined the United States, the United Kingdom, and a host of other NATO nations in committing to provide training to Ukrainian troops as part of a new military support package announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
This is expected to involve deploying up to 70 Australian Defence Force personnel to the United Kingdom in January 2023, as part of the UK’s Operation Interflex.
The government stressed that no Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel would enter Ukraine.
Australia is also set to deliver an additional 30 Thales-built Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles (PMVs) to Ukraine.
This would bring the total number of Bushmaster PMVs gifted to the embattled nation to 90, with 28 M113 armoured personnel carriers also delivered.
The government, however, has stopped short of committing Hawkei PMVs, despite requests from senior Ukrainian representatives, who offered to test the newly-in-service vehicles in the battlespace.
This latest support package takes the total value of Australia’s assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion to $655 million, including $475 million in military assistance.
“Australia has been unequivocal in its bipartisan support for Ukraine and its condemnation of President Putin,” Prime Minister Albanese said.
“We will continue to stand up for freedom and democracy.
“This is a not just about Ukraine’s sovereignty; the brave people of Ukraine are defending international law, rules and norms.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles added: “Our soldiers will be part of a large training program in the United Kingdom to help prepare their Ukrainian mates for their struggle against Russia’s unwarranted and unlawful aggression.
“Since their arrival, the Bushmasters have been used extensively by the Ukrainian Armed Forces with more requested by the Ukrainian President, Minister for Defence, and the Ambassador.”
“Military assistance has been the centrepiece of Australia’s support to Ukraine with $475 million provided, to assist in what is clearly a protracted conflict.”