Antony Albanese greets embattled Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with a big hug at Nato summit – as Australia presents war-torn country with 30 new Bushmaster vehicles against Russia
Australia will donate an additional 30 FWD armored vehicles, bringing the total number donated by Australia to 120. Australia has provided over $710 million in military aid.
Australia will donate an additional 30 Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles to Ukraine, Anthony Albanese has announced.
The prime minister met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Lithuania on Wednesday night, where the two embraced.
Mr Aussie leader has pledged more military aid to support the country in its fight against Russia.
The package builds on the previous commitment of 90 bushmasters from Australia, bringing the total number to 120.
Australia provided more than $710 million in military aid, bringing its overall aid total to $890 million.
Mr Albanese said Australia remained committed to supporting Ukraine.
The Prime Minister met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Lithuania on Wednesday night (pictured).
After the pair embraced, Mr Albanese said Australia was proud to support ‘brave men and women fighting for the sovereignty of their home and their country’.
‘We are proud to supply additional Bushmaster vehicles to support brave men and women fighting for the sovereignty of their home and their country,’ he said.
“Russia has unilaterally launched this illegal and immoral aggression and must immediately end the conflict by withdrawing its troops.”
Mr. Zelensky expressed his gratitude after meeting Mr. Albanese.
‘Thank you! A powerful new defense package with 30 Bushmasters,’ he wrote on the Telegram app.
Australia this week announced another step in its support for Ukraine – the deployment of a RAAF E-7A Wedgetail aircraft to protect the flow of aid.
Earlier, Mr Albanese told NATO leaders that Australia’s partnership with the security alliance was vital to global peace and prosperity.
The prime minister is in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius as part of a group of four Indo-Pacific countries sharing their concerns with European and other NATO partners about the global implications of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
NATO members Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea have been invited to provide insights into broader security challenges such as China’s military expansion.
Mr Albanese spoke at the summit, where he is understood to have told leaders that maintaining peace is not just the responsibility of the great powers but that all countries must contribute to the world’s collective resilience.
He outlined Australia’s work on defense force reform, working on the AUKUS partnership with Washington and London, and increasing diplomatic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region and with NATO partners.
Australia will donate a total of 120 armored Bushmaster 4WD vehicles
After the meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General told reporters, China is not our adversary.
Chinese authorities said in a statement that the country opposed NATO’s ‘eastward movement in the Asia-Pacific region’.
They said, ‘Any act that threatens China’s legitimate rights and interests will be met with a strong response.’
Ukraine is seeking to join NATO, but admission to the alliance is unlikely anytime soon.
NATO leaders agreed on a long-term aid package, deeper political ties and more work with Ukraine that is not expected to happen until after the war ends.
Mr Albanese spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the summit on Tuesday, as well as his UK counterpart Rishi Sunak to discuss the AUKUS agreement, free trade agreements and cricket progress.
The Prime Minister also met with a bipartisan delegation of US senators who will play a role in passing legislation to enable the transfer of Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines to Australia under the AUKUS partnership.
Trade and climate were on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The first Bushmaster PMV, an ambulance variant, was loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster aircraft and departed for Ukraine on April 8.
What is Bushmaster?
The Bushmaster Protected Military Vehicle (PMV) – or Infantry Mobility Vehicle – is an Australian-made, four-wheel drive armored vehicle that has seen action in several wars.
The Bushmaster (pictured) is an 11-ton armored military vehicle designed to carry and deploy up to ten soldiers on the battlefield.
The vehicle’s design means it can perform a variety of other roles, including as an ambulance (pictured, the Bushmaster armored vehicle is ready for deployment to help flood-affected communities in March 2022).
Nicknamed ‘The Bushy’, the PMV is designed to safely transport troops through combat zones and deploy them to the front lines.
First produced: 1997Number built: 1,195 Cost: A$2,450,000 (AUD) Crew: 1 driver, 9 passengers Weight: 11 – 15 tonnes Designed by: Australian Defense Industries (ADI) Currently produced by: Thales Australia (formerly ADI: At war) Afghanistan, Iraq War, East Timor, Golan Heights, Iraqi Civil War, Syrian Civil War, Northern Mali Conflict Used by: Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Fiji, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Netherlands. (Several others have expressed interest, including the US, France and Spain) Variants: Several versions of ‘The Bushy’ have been produced. These include: Troop, Command, Air Defense, Ambulance, Assault Pioneer, Mortar Variants, Direct Fire Weapons, General Maintenance.