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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese pushes for continued support for Ukraine

An Armed Forces of Ukraine recruit and an Australian Army soldier defend their position while conducting battle inoculation training, as part of Operation Kudu in the United Kingdom. Image has been digitally altered for security purposes. Photo: LACW Emma Schwenke

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called for continued international support for Ukraine, as the US stalls in its own military funding efforts.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called for continued international support for Ukraine, as the US stalls in its own military funding efforts.

The US Congress has put the US Defense Department’s supplemental funding request on hold with a two-week recess, after US$95 billion in funding was approved for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan by the Senate.

Prime Minister Albanese, following the federal government’s announcement of $50 million in additional support for Ukraine, said the conflict is of global importance.

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“This is a struggle not just for the people of Ukraine. This is a struggle on behalf of all those who support the international rule of law, all those who want to see national sovereignty be respected, all those who want to see borders respected,” he said at a press conference in Perth, Western Australia, on 18 February.

“The people of Ukraine have been courageous in their fight against a much larger army and military. They have shown extraordinary bravery and courage.

“Australia stands with Ukraine, will continue to provide support, and just this week, we announced the additional $50 million of support.

Adding further urgency to the funding, Ukrainian troops were reportedly forced to retreat from the city of Avdiivka in Donbas, Eastern Ukraine, after being partially encircled by Russian military forces.

“If Ukraine fails because we fail to provide them with security assistance, the costs are high for Europe, for the United States, and for the world; higher than the cost of security assistance,” according to a senior US Defense official.

“We see this as something that could be the harbinger of what is to come if we do not get this supplemental funding.

“Without supplemental funding, not only can we not resupply those forces that are bravely trying to defend Avdiivka, we also will find many other locations along the forward line of troops that will be running low on supplies of critical ammunition.

Ukraine will not have adequate air defence interceptors to defend its cities, critical infrastructure, and forward line of troops without supplemental funding, the official said.

Representatives from the US, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom have also recently attended a Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting.

Prime Minister Albanese also commented on news regarding Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died on 16 February this year while serving a 19-year prison sentence in a Russian Arctic penal colony.

“I will say about Alexei, and the treatment of him, that we hold Vladimir Putin responsible. This has been an appalling atrocity,” PM Albanese said during the press conference in Perth.

“This is a brave man who has stood up for democratic values and human rights in Russia, in his country.

“His treatment is just beyond the pale, and we hold Vladimir Putin responsible for that.”

Navalny, who faced charges of embezzlement and extremism while in Russia, was also poisoned with Novichok nerve agent in August 2020 and barred from standing in Russian presidential elections.

PM Albanese said Australia is shocked and saddened by the tragic news of Navalny’s death.

“Vladimir Putin is an authoritarian, and we have a divide in the world between authoritarian regimes and democracies,” he said.

“We cannot take democracy for granted; we need to cherish it and nurture it. And we need to call out the behaviour of authoritarians like Vladimir Putin.”

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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