Defence Minister Richard Marles confirms Australia is working with Ukraine to provide support following Bushmaster plea

Defense Secretary Richard Marles has confirmed that the government is working with Ukraine on how to provide further military assistance.

Mr Marles’ endorsement comes after Secretary of State Penny Wong was campaigned for more Bushmaster vehicles by her Ukrainian counterpart on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko also requested an additional 30 Bushmaster vehicles earlier in the week, bringing the total to 90.

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Mr Marles confirmed on Wednesday that the government is working with Ukraine to see how best Australia can help.

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“We are working with Ukraine on how we can continue to support Ukraine,” he told reporters.

“We are doing this based on the understanding that we view this as a protracted conflict.”

Without revealing what action the government will take, Mr Marles said further assistance with Ukraine is being worked out.

“It is really important that we, together with NATO and other countries, stand with Ukraine so that Ukraine is able to determine its own future to resolve this conflict on its own terms,” ​​he said.

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“Exactly what that support looks like, what it looks like – that’s a matter that we will continue to work out with Ukraine.”

The Bushmaster has become a symbol of Australia’s support for the war-torn European nation after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy personally requested the 11-ton infantry fighting vehicles in March.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Australia has pledged 60 Bushmasters, as well as other military equipment and financial support.

The heavy armored vehicles were part of Australia’s military aid package to Ukraine, promised earlier this year by the former Morrison government and continued by the Albanian government following Labor’s election victory.

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The vehicle can also carry mortars and can be armed with machine guns and other heavy military artillery.

Footage was released earlier this month of Ukrainian soldiers praising Australia for sending the equipment.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that the armored mobility vehicles had helped Ukrainian troops liberate parts of the northeastern Kharkiv region.

“We are grateful to the people and government of Australia for making these available to us,” a group of soldiers said in a video uploaded to Twitter.

“You were a great asset to us in the liberation of the Kharkiv areas. Together we go towards victory.”

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