Sydney, Australia, Apr 8 (EFE).- Australia will send 20 Bushmaster armored vehicles, including two equipped as ambulances, to Ukraine in response to its president’s request, Canberra said Friday.
These Australian-made vehicles will be shipped to Europe from Friday, Defense Minister Peter Dutton said on Twitter.
“We are responding to President (Volodymyr) Zelensky’s request for additional support. On top of military assistance and humanitarian aid Australia is already providing, we will be sending Bushmasters to help Ukrainians defend their nation. The first three are leaving today,” Dutton wrote.
The Bushmasters, which bear the Ukrainian flag painted on both sides with the slogan “United with Ukraine,” have been fitted with radios and global positioning systems, as well as being painted olive green, according to a joint statement from Dutton and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The government stressed that at the request of Kyiv it will not give more details about the delivery of the Bushmasters, which were requested by Zelenskyy on Mar. 31 during a videoconference speech in Canberra’s parliament.
Morrison and Dutton also announced that Australia will send 70,000 tons of coal to Ukraine and reaffirmed that it will seek other ways to provide defensive military assistance.
In total, Canberra has allocated more than AU$180 million ($136 million) in aid to Ukraine, most of it in military material.
Australia has imposed sanctions on Russia, and its ally Belarus, covering some 600 individuals and entities, including Russian president Vladimir Putin, among other senior officials, military officials and businessmen.
Australia has also banned the export of aluminum ore and all luxury goods to Russia, and imposed higher tariffs on Russian imports. EFE