Ukraine calls for more Bushmasters

·3-min read

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has requested Australia send further Bushmaster vehicles to help repel the Russian invasion.

Mr Kubeba met with Foreign Minister Penny Wong on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Ukraine's ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko has requested further artillery support in the form of up to 12 howitzers and ammunition.

Mr Myroshnychenko is also hoping to acquire drones and other innovative technology to help in the fight.

'All those people in the occupied territories are suffering greatly. It's important for us to free them as soon as possible," he told Sky News.

"The Australian government will consider providing more assistance to Ukraine. I'm extremely thankful for that."

The ambassador is also reportedly pushing for mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP to invest in mineral processing and extraction in Ukraine after the war.

Mr Myroshnychenko told The West Australian over-dependence on mineral processing from China wasn't sustainable.

"It's better to hedge the risks and take your production elsewhere ... and Ukraine is a good spot for that," he said.

"We believe it's a win-win for international business to come and invest in mineral extraction."

Senator Wong said she'd expressed Australia's solidarity with Ukraine and admiration for the courage and sacrifice Ukrainians had shown.

"There is always more we can do and the government will continue to look at ways we can support them," she told reporters in New York.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham called on the government to urgently announce further support.

"It's imperative that global supporters of Ukraine continue to support their valiant resistance to Russia's invasion," he told AAP in a statement.

"The coalition ensured that Australia was at the forefront of military support for Ukraine.

"The Albanese government should maintain that commitment by joining the US and other partners in urgently announcing further support."

Senator Birmingham also called on the government to reopen the Australian embassy in Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

"The Albanese government should explain the grounds for its continued closure given the number of other nations that have reopened their missions," he said.

The requests for support come as Russia paves the way for the formal annexation of seized Ukrainian territory after nearly seven months of war.

Russian-backed officials in several areas it partially controls have called for referendums on joining Russia, a move supported by Moscow.

Mr Myroshnychenko rubbished the move.

"It's a sign of weakness that Russia is organising these fake referendums," he said.

"Now Ukraine will be liberating those regions Russia will declare full fledged war.

"I don't think it is going to go smoothly for (Russian President) Vladimir Putin."

Senator Wong says any position taken by Australia and the international community more broadly would be guided by Ukraine.

"Again, the solution to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is for Russia to do the right thing and to withdraw," she said.

Australia has also sanctioned the Russian co-founder of a steel and mining company, Alexander Abramov.

The billionaire was initially listed as one of 67 Russian oligarchs sanctioned by Australia in April before he launched legal action against Senator Wong, arguing the sanctions damaged his reputation.

Senator Wong signed the legislative instrument last week but it only came into effect on Wednesday.

with Reuters