Defense Minister Richard Marles is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin warns of nuclear retaliation if Ukraine’s borders are violated.
Ukraine regained its eastern territories and Russia was forced to withdraw from previously occupied territories.
Russia is about to formalize the annexation of parts of Ukraine by holding a referendum on secession, which has been labeled by much of the international community as fake and illegal.
Marles branded the Russian president’s threats as appalling.
“We’ve seen Putin go there and it really worries him that he has to speak like this,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Ukraine has requested military aid from Australia in the form of additional Bushmaster vehicles and artillery.
Opposition parties are urging the government to provide immediate assistance.
Opposition leader and former Defense Minister Peter Dutton said Marles needs to cut the bureaucratic red tape he faces from the Pentagon.
“We want to get the equipment, aid and defense supplies into Ukrainian hands as soon as possible,” Dutton told Nine Network.
“Now is the time for the world to stand up, speak up and speak louder against these acts of aggression.”
Marles said the conflict is expected to be protracted and the government will continue to work with Ukrainian authorities to provide continued assistance.
Vasyl Milosnichenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, said the conflict would not escalate unless Putin used weapons of mass destruction.
But Miroshnichenko conceded that the conflict is likely to get worse before it gets better.
“This is getting harder and we need more (support),” he told ABC TV.
“We need more artillery and combat drones and more Bushmasters.”
Australia prepares for ‘prolonged’ Ukraine war
Source link Australia prepares for ‘prolonged’ Ukraine war