Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lucia Australian PM Tony Abbott to visit Ukraine

It's heartening to see a real connection being made between Australia and Ukraine, after the horrific shooting down of passenger jet MH17 by Russian backed rebels a couple of months ago.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Prime Minister Tony Abbot is planning to visit Ukraine, according to the country's president.

Mr Abbott phoned Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday, the president's press service reported.

During the phone call Mr Abbott promised to send military equipment to Ukraine's army, the president said.

A week ago Mr Abbott told parliament that Australia would send "non-lethal military assistance" to Ukraine such as military winter clothing, blankets and first-aid kits.

According to the president's press office, Mr Abbott told Mr Poroshenko "Australia will consider the opportunity of enhancing military-technical cooperation and, as the first stage, will send the lot of military equipment and means of warming.

"Also, Australia is ready to begin programs of training and equipment of Ukrainian servicemen."

Australia will also allocate $1 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine via the Red Cross.

Mr Abbott praised Ukraine's implementation of the new ceasefire and peace plan, and thanked Ukraine for its help in the aftermath of the crash of flight MH17, in which 27 Australian citizens died.

Mr Poroshenko thanked Mr Abbott for Australia's "timely assistance and support".

Mr Abbott "expressed intention to make an official visit to Ukraine," the statement said.

Australia will soon open an embassy in Kiev, which will make it easier for Ukrainians to travel to Australia.

I'm very impressed with Australia's vocal stance over the MH17 tragedy and their support for Ukraine.  Some countries might be cowed by Russia, but not Australia.  I wonder, though, how much this support for Ukraine has influenced China in declaring Australia a military threat.

Read more: Tony Abbott plans visit to Ukraine and promises to send military equipment: Petro Poroshenko (link contains a video that autoplays that can be turned off)

Evidence Review: Who Shot Down MH17?

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