Defence exploring options for Bushmaster delivery to Ukraine
By: Charbel Kadib
Australia has responded to Ukraine’s request for Bushmaster vehicles in support of its resistance to Russia’s invasion.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the government is exploring options to deliver Thales Australia-built Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles to Ukraine following a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his remote address to a joint sitting of Federal Parliament on Thursday evening (31 March).
According to Minister for Defence Peter Dutton, Bushmaster stocks were reviewed overnight to determine the quantum and logistics of a delivery to Ukraine via a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster.
“We’ll just see what we can land there by the C-17s and we might only be able to upload three or four Bushmasters on to a C-17 at once,” he said.
“But we’re just going through that logistics at the moment.”
Alternatively, the government is exploring whether it could source Bushmasters from Germany, France or elsewhere in Europe to reduce delivery delays.
The commitment builds on a new $25 million military assistance package announced by Prime Minister Morrison ahead of President Zelenskyy’s address to Parliament.
“The Australian government will continue to identify opportunities for further military assistance where it is able to provide a required capability to the Ukraine Armed Forces expeditiously,” Minister Dutton said in a statement released following the announcement.
“…Australia stands with Ukraine against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion.
“We will continue to impose the maximum costs against Russia through targeted sanctions on individuals and entities, including President Putin and his circle of oligarchs and propagandists, military commanders and members of Parliament.”
The government has also previously announced the provision $65 million of humanitarian assistance, 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal, and the granting of temporary protection visas and support for Ukrainian community groups in Australia.