Australia will provide 34 additional armoured vehicles to Ukraine and prohibit Russian gold imports, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said during a historic visit to the bombed capital.
Speaking in Kyiv alongside President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Mr Albanese also said Australia would impose sanctions and travel bans on 16 more Russian ministers and oligarchs, bringing the total number of Russian individuals sanctioned by Australia to 843.
As well, Australia will give Ukraine 14 more armoured personnel carriers and 20 Bushmaster vehicles to support its battle against Russia which invaded in February, Reuters reported.
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Mr Albanese visited war-torn Kyiv on Sunday during a side trip on his way home from Paris.
A blackout was imposed on Australian media reporting on the trip before details were released online by an official in Ukraine and global wire agencies on the ground covered a press conference with the leaders.
Reuters cited a post by Kyiv Oblast Governor Oleksiy Kuleba on the messaging app Telegram saying Mr Albanese also visited the towns of Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel – places where Ukraine says has Russia committed war crimes against civilians. Russia denies the allegations.
“Australia supports Ukraine and wants to see justice meted out for the crimes committed here,” Mr Kuleba said.
Mr Albanese called the destruction in Irpin “devastating”, Reuters reported.
“These are homes and these are livelihoods and indeed lives that have been lost here in this town,” he said during the press conference with Mr Zelenskiy.
Mr Albanese’s trip followed an invitation in June from Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, to visit Kyiv.
Australia had previously condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pledged $285 million of military aid including armoured personnel carriers and Bushmaster vehicles.
During his wider Europe visit, Mr Albanese indicated Australia would look to re-establish a diplomatic presence in Ukraine.
Australian embassy staff have been working from neighbouring Poland since the Ukraine crisis began.
Mr Albanese is expected back in Australia on Tuesday.
© AAP 2022