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More Aussie aid for Ukraine as PM visits devastated city


Australia will give another $100 million in aid to Ukraine, including 34 extra military vehicles, and ban Russian gold imports, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said during a historic visit.

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Speaking in the capital Kyiv alongside President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Albanese also said Australia would impose sanctions and travel bans on 16 more Russian ministers and oligarchs, bringing the total number of Russian individuals sanctioned by Australia to 843.

The military aid includes 14 armoured personnel carriers and 20 Bushmaster vehicles to support Ukraine in its battle against Russia following its invasion in February, Reuters reported.

“I pay tribute to the courage, resilience, bravery and determination of you as the leader of Ukraine, of your defence force, but importantly as well of your entire population who are determined to stand up to a bully which is breaching international law without any provocation or any excuse,” Albanese told Zeleskiy at a joint press conference.

“Australia stands ready to continue to support the government and the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes for Ukraine to emerge victorious in defence of your national sovereignty and your homeland.”

Zelenskiy thanked his Australian counterpart for visiting and for the support.

“Our defenders highly appreciated, in particular, the Australian Bushmaster armoured personnel carriers and other specific assistance from Australia,” he said.

“I am grateful to Australia for its firm, unyielding position on this issue.”

Albanese was protected by Ukraine soldiers during a high security visit to war-torn Kyiv and nearby towns on Sunday, during a side trip from Paris via Poland.

While standing outside bombed apartment block Albanese told a media pool “this is a war crime”.

Albanese, who has been visiting Europe in the past week, called the destruction in the town of Irpin “devastating”, Reuters reported.

“These are homes and these are livelihoods and indeed lives that have been lost here in this town,” he said during a press conference with Zelenskiy.

A blackout was imposed on Australian media reporting on the trip before details were released online by an official in Ukraine and global wire agencies on the ground covered a press conference with the leaders.

Reuters cited a post by Kyiv Oblast Governor Oleksiy Kuleba on the messaging app Telegram saying Albanese also visited the towns of Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel – places where Ukraine says has Russia committed war crimes against civilians. Russia denies the allegations.

“Australia supports Ukraine and wants to see justice meted out for the crimes committed here,” Kuleba said.

Albanese’s trip followed an invitation in June from Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko to visit Kyiv.

Australia’s aid to Ukraine now totals about $390 million.

Australia had previously pledged $285 million of military aid including armoured personnel carriers and Bushmaster vehicles.

During his wider Europe visit, Albanese indicated Australia would look to re-establish a diplomatic presence in Ukraine.

Australian embassy staff have been working from neighbouring Poland since the Ukraine crisis began.

Albanese is expected back in Australia on Tuesday.

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