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Politics with Michelle Grattan: Ukraine ambassador urges Australian embassy in Kyiv to reopen ASAP

Ambassador Myroshnychenko & Michelle Grattan

The Ukraine conflict has escalated this week, with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announcing a partial military mobilisation and once again raising the threat of nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile Ukraine has been pressing Australia to provide another 30 Bushmasters, after those already helping the war effort are proving very effective.

In this podcast Ukraine’s ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko urges the Albanese government to reopen Australia’s embassy in his country as soon as possible.

“By now 60 different countries have sent their embassies and ambassadors back to Kyiv. And I think it’s important for Australia to go back because if Bruce Edwards [the ambassador, now stationed in Poland] is on the ground, he’s capable of meeting people there and interacting with the minister of defence, with the minister of foreign affairs, with other stakeholders in Ukraine, to provide a better feedback to Canberra.”

Pushing for the additional Bushmasters and other weaponry, Myroshnychenko says: “Hop in a taxi [in Kyiv] and the taxi driver is going to ask you, ‘where are you from?’ And you will say you’re Australian. So most likely he’s going to say ‘Bushmaster’ […] It’s kind of a very strong brand name, currently strongly associated with Australia. Just like kangaroos and koalas are. It’s now a Bushmaster.”

Myroshnychenko also calls for the government to replace the scheme, now expired, that was set up by the Morrison government to give some financial help to Ukrainians who fled the war.

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