Rallies across Australia mark second anniversary of Ukraine invasion

Key Points
  • Thousands are rallying across Australia to mark the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced new financial sanctions and travel bans on 55 people and 37 entities.
  • Opposition Leader Peter Dutton urged for the reinstatement of an Australian embassy in Kyiv.
Supporters of Ukraine are marking the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion with rallies in Canberra and around Australia.
Demonstrators have on Saturday gathered outside the Russian embassy to protest Moscow’s war against Ukraine, two years after Russian forces began their offensive.

Independent Senator David Pocock and ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury joined the rally in Canberra, while thousands are expected to attend events in other capital cities.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said two years on since Russia’s full-scale invasion, Australia stands unwavering in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Australia remains steadfast in supporting Ukraine to defend itself, and to holding those responsible for Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion to account,” the minister said in a statement on Saturday.
Senator Wong also announced further financial sanctions and travel bans on 55 people, and financial sanctions on 37 entities.

It follows Prime Minister Anthony Albanese earlier in February announcing Australia would give $50 million to the International Fund for Ukraine.

The fund uses contributions from across the world to procure military equipment for Kyiv and provide both lethal and non-lethal support.
Marking the occasion, the coalition called on the Albanese government to reverse its decision to bury Australia’s dumped MRH-90 Taipan helicopters and to instead donate them to Ukraine as requested in 2023.
The government maintains there are none in flying condition.
In a joint statement, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton alongside his foreign and defence spokesmen, also urged for the reinstatement of an Australian embassy in Kyiv to join the more than 67 other diplomatic missions that have returned.
“On this second anniversary, we salute the unwavering strength of Ukrainians which has kept the belligerent advances of Russia at bay,” they said.

“We mourn with Ukrainians for the displacement, casualties and fatalities they have suffered at the hands of a murderous dictator.”

Senator Pocock said the international community needed to exert maximum pressure, while providing all possible support to Ukraine.
“Their friends and supporters here in Canberra have shown up week in and week out in solidarity, refusing to be silent and keeping attention on Ukraine’s plight,” he said.
Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko met other European envoys on Friday in a show of solidarity to mark the anniversary.
Mr Myroshnychenko will address the National Press Club in Canberra next week.
The British High Commission has been lit up in Ukraine’s colours of blue and yellow as High Commissioner Vicki Treadell met with the Ukrainian ambassador.

It will remain illuminated over the weekend.

Source link