Ukraine’s ambassador has demanded more artillery and ammunition from Australia after a counter-offensive in the east of the country saw Kyiv retake a key city from Russian control.
Vasyl Myrochnychenko said artillery was needed to hold on to the recovered Kharkiv, as he praised the Australian government for Bushmaster armored vehicles which helped “liberate” the region.
“You’ve seen them perform very well, liberate Ukraine, it’s great and everyone is talking about Australia,” he told AAP.
The ambassador said the Australian government could supply six or 12 howitzers after Canberra supplied six light towed howitzers in April.
“What is most important now are artillery guns and ammunition,” he said.
Ukraine will also need long-range missiles, tanks and possibly fighter jets to win the war, but the ambassador acknowledged that such support could only be provided by the United States.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles described Ukraine’s determination to push Russia out of its territory as “nothing short of inspiring” and pledged continued support.
Mr Marles pledged Australia would continue to support Ukraine as it resists Russian aggression.
“I don’t think anyone imagined that Ukraine would rise the way it did and it was heroic,” he told ABC radio on Monday.
“I don’t think there’s anything inevitable about the outcome – it requires continued support.”
Mr Marles, who is also defense minister, said the West must fight for a rules-based order.
“It is completely unacceptable for a large country to seek to impose itself on a smaller neighbor, not by reference to a rule of international law, but by reference to might and power,” he said.
“This proposal simply cannot stand.”
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said Australia needed to step up its efforts.
“Australia’s supply of weapons or vehicles, financial aid, humanitarian aid has positioned us all as the main non-NATO contributor to the Ukrainian cause worldwide,” he told AFP. the ABC.
“We have to make sure that we continue this type of effort.”
Senator Birmingham said the government should listen carefully to the kind of support Ukraine is asking for and provide such assistance where possible.
“We’ve seen the United States step in, Australia should do the same,” he said.
The war in Ukraine is expected to be on the agenda when Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin meet at a summit in Uzbekistan this week.
Mr Putin’s unpredictability and the risk of a nuclear conflict have also raised concerns in the west as Russia ponders how to respond to the Ukrainian offensive.
The head of information science at the Defense Science and Technology Group has speculated that a large-scale cyber offensive against Russia could lure the Russian president into accessing the country’s nuclear arsenal.
“If you imagine for a moment the kind of horror scenario where all of a sudden you have no telecommunications, no power, no banking system, no personal records,” said Dr Dale Lambert.
“You have no idea what’s going on because you don’t have social media or news services.
“Imagine if this was projected onto Russia, how would the Russians react? I guess they could answer with the nuclear option.