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Parliament House lit up the colours of the Ukrainian flag

Morrison would favour expelling Russia from G20, as Australia provides $105 million for Ukraine assistance

Scott Morrison has announced A$105 million in a package of military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine, and flagged he would support Russia being thrown out of the G20.

The Prime Minister has also warned people not to go from Australia to fight for Ukraine, saying this would probably be illegal as well as suicidal.

The assistance package includes $70 million for lethal and non-lethal assistance and $35 million in humanitarian aid.

The military assistance, through NATO, will include missiles and ammunition.

Morrison said he wouldn’t give further details “because I don’t plan to give the Russian government a heads-up about what is coming their way”.

The humanitarian aid will go to international organisations for shelter, food, medical care, water and education support.

“This will be our opening contribution. We expect over time there will be further requests,” Morrison told a news conference after cabinet’s national security committee was briefed on the war and ticked off on the measures.

Asked about Russia’s membership of the G20, Morrison said, “We are seeking to impose maximum cost together with our allies and partners on Russia, and they have self-selected themselves as a pariah state. That’s how they should be known.”

To expel Russia from the G20 would take a consensus of its members guided by the chair which this year is Indonesia. China is a member of the G20 and presumably would oppose the removal of Russia.

Ukraine has urged people from other countries to join its fight against the invading Russians. “Anyone who wants to join the defence of Ukraine, Europe and the world can come and fight side by side with the Ukrainians against the Russian war criminals,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

But Morrison said people should not travel from Australia to Ukraine, and especially not to fight.

“The legal position of those who may seek to do that, I think, is very unclear,” he said. This was particularly so as the extent to which the informal militia would be part of the Ukrainian official armed forces would be unclear.

Under Australian law it is not legal to go to fight in another country other than in that country’s official forces.

Morrison said people could not assume going to fight was a legal act. “On the evidence that we have it is unlikely." 

"What I would also argue is anyone seeking to do that would find themselves on the wrong end of some very, very violent attacks,” Morrison said.   “Others have described those sorts of things as suicide missions and that’s not an unreasonable assessment.”

In his statement after Tuesday’s meeting of the Reserve Bank Board, Governor Philip Lowe said that while the global economy continued to recover from the pandemic, the Ukraine war was “a major new source of uncertainty”.

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