Australia boosts military aid to Ukraine 

SYDNEY — Australia, one of Ukraine’s largest non-NATO donors, has announced a military aid package worth around $65 million to support Kyiv’s war effort following Russia’s invasion.

The package includes funding for drones, short-range air defense systems, inflatable boats and generators, as well as equipment like helmets, masks and boots.

The additional funding was announced by Australia’s deputy prime minister, Richard Marles, during a brief visit over the weekend to Ukraine.

Marles told local media that the Canberra government is committed to “supporting Ukraine to resolve the conflict on its terms,” adding that “their spirit remains strong.”

Australia is also part of a multinational program to train Ukrainian troops in the United Kingdom through Operation Kudu.

Canberra has also joined the U.K.-led so-called “drone coalition” to boost Ukraine’s aerial defenses.

Vasyl Myroshnychenko,Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that Australia’s help will make a difference in his country’s fight against Russia. 

“We are extremely grateful for the package that was announced and that Australia has joined the drone coalition, especially now that we see how the nature of war is changing,” Myroshnychenko said. “The role of drones is becoming more important, and we have to have a steady supply of those drones and that was a very important contribution from Australia to help us get that advantage on the battlefield.”

The new package brings Australia’s overall financial support to Ukraine to more than $650 million.

Previous aid included supplying armored vehicles, infantry carriers, lightweight towed howitzers, and munitions.

Australia’s announcement follows a $61 billion military aid package for Ukraine signed last week by U.S. President Joe Biden.

The Canberra government also has imposed restrictions on hundreds of Russian politicians, including President Vladimir Putin, military commanders and businesspeople. They are the most sweeping sanctions Australia has ever put on another country.

Additionally, Canberra has banned imports of Russian oil, petroleum, coal and gas.

More than 11,000 Ukrainians on various types of Australian visas, including visitors’ permits, have come to Australia since Russia invaded in February 2022.

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