Editorial: From Oz to Ukraine

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday that Australia will send armoured Bushmaster vehicles to Ukraine after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy specifically asked for them while appealing to Australian lawmakers for more help in Ukraine’s war against Russia.

Zelenskyy addressed the Australian Parliament on Thursday and asked for the Australian-made, four-wheel-drive vehicles. Morrison told reporters the vehicles will be flown over on Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport planes. He didn’t specify how many would be sent or when.

We’re not just sending our prayers, we are sending our guns, we’re sending our munitions, we’re sending our humanitarian aid, we’re sending all of this, our body armor, all of these things and we’re going to be sending our armored vehicles, our Bushmasters, as well, Morrison said.

Zelenskyy has been tailoring his message to individual countries through video appeals like the one shown to legislators in the Australian Parliament. Lawmakers gave him standing ovation at the start and end of his 16-minute address. Zelenskyy also called for tougher sanctions and for Russian vessels to be banned from international ports.

We need more sanctions against Russia, powerful sanctions until they stop blackmailing other countries with their nuclear missiles, Zelenskyy said through an interpreter. Zelenskyy specifically asked for Bushmaster vehicles. You have very good armed personnel vehicles, Bushmasters, that could help Ukraine substantially, and other pieces of equipment, Zelenskyy said. While the Ukrainian capital Kyiv is 15,000 kilometers (9,300 miles) from the Australian capital Canberra, Zelenskyy said Australia was not safe from the conflict which threatened to escalate into a nuclear war.

He suggested that a Russian victory over Ukraine would embolden China to declare war on Taiwan. The most terrible thing is that if we don’t stop Russia now, if we don’t hold Russia accountable, then some other countries of the world who are looking forward to similar wars against their neighbors will decide that such things are possible for them as well, Zelenskyy said. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he has stripped two generals of their military rank.

Zelenskyy said something prevented them from determining where their homeland was and they violated their military oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people. According to Zelenskyy, one of the generals had headed internal security at the SBU, the main intelligence agency. He said the other general had been the SBU head in the Kherson region, the first major city to fall to the Russians. Zelenskyy didn’t say anything about the fates of the two generals other than them being stripped of their rank. Ukraine is fighting wars from outside as well as inside.