Australia sends more humanitarian aid to Ukraine and bans exports to Russia
Australia will donate more military equipment, humanitarian aid and coal to Ukraine’s efforts to defend against invasion while imposing additional sanctions on Russia.
Sunday morning’s announcement follows talks between Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Defense Minister Peter Dutton and their Ukrainian counterparts.
A further $21 million in Australian Defense Force equipment will seek to meet Ukraine’s priority requests, in addition to the $70 million in military assistance already provided by Australia.
The government also announced an additional $30 million in humanitarian assistance that will focus on protecting displaced women and children from Ukraine and addressing food shortages.
Australia announced $51m in additional funding on Sunday to support Ukraine along with coal shipments and a ban on exports of bauxite used to make aluminum to Russia (Picture: Prime Minister Scott Morrison)
The UNHCR has estimated that three million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24 (pictured: Refugees at Medyka on the Polish border on Saturday)
According to the UNHCR, around three million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s unprovoked invasion on February 24.
Australians who wish to support those fleeing Ukraine can make tax-deductible donations to approved organizations supporting Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.
Ukrainians fleeing the conflict and arriving in Australia can now apply for a temporary three-year humanitarian visa.
Defending the decision not to extend permanent visa caps, Mr Morrison has previously said he expects the majority will want to return to Ukraine when the conflict ends.
“We shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that anyone looking to leave Ukraine doesn’t want to go back to their home country,” he said.
Australia will also donate at least 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal for Ukrainian power plants with coal producers have been bombarded with calls for supplies in recent weeks from Ukraine and other countries like Poland that have relied on Russian supplies.
Mr Morrison on Sunday declared an immediate ban on exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia as a further sanction against Moscow.
Australia will provide another $21m in military equipment to Ukraine on top of the previous $70m last month which included missiles and ammunition (pictured: Ukrainian armored personnel carrier in Kyiv)
“Russia depends on Australia for almost 20% of its alumina needs,” Mr Morrison said in a joint multi-department statement.
The statement said the ban would limit Russia’s ability to produce aluminum, which is a key export for the country.
“This milestone demonstrates the Morrison government’s absolute commitment to holding the Putin regime accountable for the flagrant manner in which it flouts international law and the law of armed conflict by invading its neighbor without justification and targeting innocent civilians,” he said. he declared.
Russia is also the world’s third-largest oil producer, with the conflict and Russian oil boycott causing global oil prices to soar.
Australia previously joined 30 countries in releasing a total of 60 million barrels of oil from reserves to stabilize prices with thirty million barrels from the US strategic reserve.
Australians who want to donate to refugees can now benefit from a tax deduction for approved organizations (Pictured: A Ukrainian refugee with his child arrives in Moldova)
Experts predict petrol prices of around $2.20 a liter at Australian service stations over the next few months, as crude oil prices hover around $110 a barrel.
The new aid package follows previous lethal and non-lethal military aid of $70 million, which Mr Morrison said would include missiles and ammunition.
Other new humanitarian aid announced on Sunday included an additional $30 million in emergency humanitarian assistance, focused on the protection of women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
“To help meet the critical education and protection needs of children, people with disabilities and people at risk of gender-based violence, Australia will provide $10 million through non-governmental organizations as part of of the Australian Humanitarian Partnership,” the statement read.
“We will provide $8 million to the United Nations Population Fund to protect displaced women and girls from gender-based violence and ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services.”
Australia will also contribute $10 million to the World Food Program to help address growing food shortages.
An additional $2 million will be donated to the Emergency Action Alliance for Ukraine emergency appeal to improve Australian NGO response, funding that will attract matching private donations.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday called for comprehensive peace talks with Moscow and also urged Switzerland to do more to crack down on Russian oligarchs who he said were helping wage war on his country with their money.
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (pictured) again urged Moscow to agree to peace talks
British intelligence has warned that Russia, frustrated by its inability to achieve its objectives since launching the invasion on February 24, is pursuing an attrition strategy that could deepen the humanitarian crisis.
Russian forces have suffered heavy casualties and their advance has largely stalled since President Vladimir Putin launched the assault, with long columns of troops that slammed into kyiv halted in the suburbs.
But they have besieged towns, destroyed urban areas and stepped up missile attacks on targets scattered across western Ukraine, far from the main battlefields, in recent days.
Ukrainian women shout slogans during a solidarity rally for Ukraine outside the Russian Embassy in Bucharest on March 19 (pictured)
Zelenskiy, who makes frequent impassioned appeals to the foreign public for help for his country, told an anti-war demonstration in Bern that Swiss banks were where “the money of people who have started this war” and that their accounts should be frozen.
Ukrainian cities are destroyed by order of people who live in Europe, in beautiful Swiss cities, who enjoy property in your cities. It would be really nice to take that privilege away from them,” he said in an audio address.
Neutral Switzerland, which is not a member of the European Union, has fully embraced EU sanctions against Russian individuals and entities, including orders to freeze their assets in Swiss banks.
Ukrainian refugees arrive at the reception center about three kilometers from the border between Moldova and Ukraine, in the village of Palanca, Moldova, on March 19 (pictured)
The EU measures are part of a wider sanctions effort by Western countries, criticized by China, aimed at squeezing the Russian economy
On Saturday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng warned of the consequences of forcing a major nuclear power “into a corner”.
Le told a security forum in Beijing that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization should also avoid expanding further into Russia.
He said the sanctions against the country were “getting more and more outrageous” and would only harm ordinary citizens and the global economy.
“History has proven time and time again that sanctions cannot solve problems,” Le said.
Australia is not a member of NATO, but allies including the United States and the United Kingdom are.