China's rise in nuclear arms 'worrying' for Australia says expert
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In a military support package worth $26.5million (£15million), Australia will be sending anti-tank missiles and bullets, following a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy after he addressed federal parliament a week ago. This will see Australia’s total military assistance in the war reach $191.5million (£106.6million). With the provision of 20 refitted Bushmasters vehicles, transported by C-17 Globemasters much like the one spotted over Cornwall yesterday, Australia will become one of the first countries to provide combat vehicle support to Ukraine in the latest blow to Putin.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison added that the exact contents will remain secret, to prevent Putin from knowing what’s coming.
He said: “The Government will not disclose specific details of the new package, or delivery arrangements, at the direct request of Ukrainian officials and our other partners.
“Australia may be thousands of kilometres away but we’re standing side by side with Ukraine against this illegal invasion with arms, equipment, aid and even energy sources.
“Once again Ukraine has asked for our help and once again we have stepped up.”
“This fight is important because not only are Ukrainian lives and their lands at stake, but so are the principles of freedom and the rule of law.
“Australia stands with the people of Ukraine, and again calls on Russia to cease its unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine.”
The refitted Bushmasters are a famous Australian military unit and have been used in the past by Australian forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and disaster zones at home.
They are designed to withstand any environment and can protect troops from bomb blasts.
For their new role in Ukraine, the words “United with Ukraine” are emblazoned on the side of the vehicles in both English and Ukrainian.
They have also been repainted olive green, with the Ukrainian flag stencilled on each side.
The Bushmasters have been equipped with radios, a global positioning system and extra bolt-on armour, as well as with extra protection against mines, artillery shrapnel and small arms fire.
They are capable of carrying mortars and other heavy weapons, and are able to be equipped with a variety of military equipment.
They are able to operate for three days without resupply thanks to its ability to carry large amounts of fuel and supplies. A central tyre inflation system allows them to function without punctures.
Mr Morrison said: “Our Australian-designed and made Bushmasters are known around the world for their usefulness in a combat zone and they will help boost Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s unprovoked and illegal violence.
“This fight is important because not only are Ukrainian lives and their lands at stake, but so are the principles of freedom and the rule of law.”
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Australian defence minister Peter Dutton further praised the effectiveness of the Australian Bushmaster, adding to the Today show today: “It is one of the world leading vehicles and it provides protection to the crew that are onboard.
“It will be a big win for the Ukrainian forces in their attempts to stare down the barbaric efforts of the Russian forces.”
He added: “People have fought and died for the freedoms that we have in our country. We need to realise we just can’t take for granted what we have – our system of democracy and freedom of speech.
“These are values that dictators like Putin and Hitler and others will always be against. We need to stand up against them.”
Australia earlier announced that they would take action against 67 elites linked to Putin in a new round of sanctions.
This prompted the Kremlin to ban Mr Morrison and over 200 other Australian officials.
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