The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, addressed Parliament via video link on Thursday afternoon.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the Federal Parliament on Thursday afternoon, with both houses joining in the House of Representatives to watch the live address.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison began the sitting reaffirming the shared values between the people of Australia and Ukraine.
“Mr President, Ukraine and Australia are separated by half the earth. Our languages, accents, histories and cultures are different – but we share an affinity for democracy, for freedom, freedom of speech, expression and a free press, for the right to live free of coercion, intimidation and the brute fist of force,” PM Scott Morrison began.
The PM’s words soon took a stronger tone, reiterating Australia’s willingness to provide lethal aid to the country and calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal”.
“Yes you have our prayers, but you also have our weapons, our humanitarian aid, our sanctions against those who seek to deny your freedom and you even have our coal,” he noted.
“We stand with you Mr President, and we do not stand with the war criminal of Moscow.”
This was followed up by a new commitment to provide an additional package of defensive military assistance to Ukraine, which includes the provision of tactical decoys, unmanned aerial and unmanned ground systems, rations and medical supplies.
"Mr President, our pledge is that when freedom prevails, Australia will help the people of Ukraine rebuild as well," he added.
"Here today in the home of Australia's democracy, we welcome you, Mr President, as a lion of democracy. We honour you and the incredible courage of your people whom you lead.
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"We are witnesses to it with all of those around the world, as you call them, strong people of an indomitable country and may that be so."
The Prime Minister's direct words were closely echoed by Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, who likened Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the Nazis in World War II.
“Brave Ukrainian people are pushing back the tide of tyranny,” Albanese said.
“Putin and the regime that enables him will be met with determination and escalating consequences if he continues to prosecute this illegal war.”
Throughout his address to Parliament, President Zelenskyy referred to the recently destroyed Ukrainian cargo jet, known as “Dream”, to talk about Ukraine's global past and future.
But unlike the cargo jet, the Ukrainian people refuse to let their dreams be destroyed.
“We know that our dream is undefeatable and undestructed especially if we can count on the support of the free world, on your support, on your assistance,” President Zelenskyy said.
President Zelenskyy praised the support of Australia during his speech – and like the Prime Minister – reiterated Australia and Ukraine’s shared commitment to freedom.
“The geographical distance between us is huge, thousands of kilometers, but what does this distance mean for those who have common understanding? We see the world with the same vision.”