Australia says it plans to spend $50 million to buy missiles and ammunition to support Ukraine.
As the conflict in Ukraine intensifies, the Australian government has shifted its stance on sending military hardware to Ukrainian forces. Last week, Canberra said it would provide only technical assistance. That has changed. Now, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, his country will buy military equipment and weapons for Ukraine as part of a coordinated effort with other western nations to help its armed forces resist Russia’s invasion. It is unclear how quickly the armaments would be delivered.
Morrison made the announcement at a media briefing on Tuesday.
“We are talking missiles, ammunition, we are talking supporting them in their defense of their own homeland in Ukraine and will be doing that in partnership with NATO,” said Morrison. “I’m not going to go into the specifics of that because I don’t plan to give the Russian government a heads up about what is coming their way, but I can assure them, it is coming your way.”
Australia is also contributing $25 million toward humanitarian support for international organizations that are helping Ukrainians in an evacuation effort as they leave their country escaping the conflict. Hundreds of thousands of people have left to seek asylum and refuge in neighboring regions.
Morrison has ruled out sending Australian troops to fight in the war.
He has also urged Australian citizens to not travel and join Ukraine’s militia in the ongoing fighting against the Russian military. Morrison said the legal position of foreign combatants in the conflict was unclear.
Legal experts say Australian laws prohibit citizens from joining in other countries’ conflicts unless they are members of an official foreign army.
Morrison said Russia has “self-selected themselves as a pariah state” following its invasion of neighboring Ukraine.