Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia has reaffirmed his war-torn country’s invitation to Anthony Albanese to visit their capital after the NATO summit.
Vasyl Myroshnychenko also warned that other nations, including China, would be “emboldened” by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Prime Minister will travel to Spain next week to attend the summit, as the organization works to counter Russian aggression.
Speaking at an Australian Strategic Policy Institute forum on Wednesday, Mr Myroshnychenko said his leader, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, would be “pleased” to host Mr Albanese if he chose to visit Kyiv after his trip to Europe.
“I think that would send a very strong message of solidarity with Ukraine,” he said.
“This will be the historic first visit by an Australian Prime Minister to Ukraine.”
Mr Myroshnychenko called for increased military support and ammunition.
“We need real tanks…Bushmasters are not made for fighting,” he said.
“How many more Ukrainian women must be raped, how many Ukrainian children must be killed.”
Four of the 14 promised armored vehicles are on their way to Ukraine, the federal government said.
They have been freshly painted and say Australia is ‘united with Ukraine’ and are part of the government’s $285 million military aid package.
Mr Myroshnychenko said Australia was one of the few countries to have reassessed its environment.
“A Russian victory … will embolden other nations like China,” he said.
“The China of today is not the China of 2012. It is time for other nations to follow Australia’s lead.”
Mr Myroshnychenko said sovereign nations should not be threatened with military invasion for joining pacts guaranteeing their security.
“We must strengthen the global rights of nations to self-defense,” he said.
Earlier, Mr. Albanese hailed the importance of working with NATO to protect and support Ukraine’s sovereignty.
“It will be an important conference … because of what is happening in Ukraine,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“This is the first time that the leaders of South Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have all been invited and we have all accepted the invitation to become NATO partners.
“Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to the effort to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and its fight against Russia’s barbaric and illegal war.”
Albanese spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meeting as he prepares to welcome Asia-Pacific nations for the first time.
Lowy Institute executive director Michael Fullilove said he would encourage Mr Albanese to visit Ukraine after the NATO summit, to underscore Australia’s support.
“The prime minister’s visit would add to that… It would continue the personal diplomacy he launched so effectively,” he told the National Press Club on Wednesday.
Dr Fullilove said Australia had a “huge stake” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the war setting the stage for future conflict.
“The invasion of Ukraine was the greatest disruption of the international order since World War II,” he said.
“It has implications for us because we have enjoyed the benefits of this order. A Russian victory would make more invasions like this more common – it would be a big victory for countries that defy the international order.”
Japan is also pushing for a side meeting with Australia, New Zealand and South Korea to discuss regional security issues amid China’s growing influence and aggression, according to local media. .
Australian Associated Press