The Ukrainian government has called for Australia to help build support in the Pacific as it looks for more international aid to repel Russia’s move to annex parts of the country.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko says officials have asked their Australian counterparts to help expand a coalition of countries opposed to Russia’s aggression.
“I believe we will repel the Russians, I believe we will restore our sovereignty … it all now depends on our friends, including Australia, if we can get enough weapons and equipment to be able to evict the Russians from Ukraine,” he told ABC TV on Saturday.
His comments follow Russian president Vladimir Putin proclaiming his country’s annexation of a swathe of occupied Ukrainian territory, after a series of referendums dismissed as shams by Western nations.
The announcement of Russian rule over more than 15 per cent of Ukraine – the biggest annexation in Europe since World War II – has been roundly rejected as illegal, with the United States, Britain and Canada all announcing new sanctions.
Mr Myroshnychenko said it was vital for the international community to stay united in opposing the Russian occupation and for its support to help expand the list of countries backing Ukraine’s fight.
“(The) Ukrainian government has asked the Australian government to help us in the Pacific, and here in Southeast Asia as well, in engaging with the partners in the region, because we need to have a big coalition supporting Ukraine in our fight for freedom and democracy,” he said.
China, India and several other nations abstained from voting on a UN Security Council resolution, introduced by the US, condemning Russia’s annexation of parts of Ukraine.
Mr Myroshnychenko said it was important for allies such as Australia to continue sending weapons and other equipment to enable Ukraine troops to defend the country following Russia’s annexation move.
“For Ukrainians, nothing changes. We are there on a mission to liberate Ukraine, to evict the Russians from Ukraine and restore our sovereignty,” he said.
Ukraine previously asked for further Bushmaster vehicles, artillery and access to Hawkei protected light vehicles from Australia.
The government has said it continues to work with Ukraine by providing support to enable it to end the conflict.
(Australian Associated Press)