Ukraine asks Australia for more Bushmasters over Russia conflict
Acting Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles today confirmed that the government will consider the latest request.
Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko recently requested another 30 Bushmaster vehicles, bringing the total to 90 committed since fighting began in February.
“Ninety would be three different battalions, in battalions of 30,” he told the ABC.
“Obviously, the Bushmasters that we have already provided to Ukraine are having a really significant impact on the conflict in Ukraine – and that is helping Ukraine a lot in its efforts to resist this Russian aggression,” he said. said Mr. Marles in response.
“We are aware of the requests that Ukraine has made of us, we will obviously consider them.”
“We understand that Ukraine needs long-term support. I spoke with the Ukrainian ambassador, I spoke with Oleksii Reznikov, my counterpart, the Minister of Defense in Ukraine; we will continue to find ways in which Australia can support Ukraine on an ongoing basis.
So far, Australia has pledged to provide Ukraine with 60 Bushmasters, 14 M113AS4 armored personnel carriers, six M777 howitzers and a total of $388 million in military assistance.
When asked how many of the 60 Bushmasters had arrived in Ukraine so far, a Defense spokesperson told news.com.au: “For operational security reasons, Defense will not confirm dates accurate as to the departure or delivery of vehicles in Ukraine. or the exact numbers delivered at that time.
“Bushmaster Protected Mobility vehicles and M113AS4 armored vehicles are modified from our existing fleet and are transported to Ukraine when the modifications are complete,” the spokesperson said.
Bushmasters behind recent Ukrainian exploits
Soldiers on the front lines of the Ukrainian offensive thanked Australia for providing Bushmasters military vehicles, which played a huge role in the recent liberation of the city of Kharkiv.
Troops say Australian-built four-wheel-drive armored vehicles contributed to their highly successful counterattack against the Russian invaders.
“Bushmaster, (genus Lachesis), a venomous Amazonian snake overpowered by our soldiers that stings the enemy in unexpected, painful and fatal ways. Thanks to our Australian wizards for the instruction manual,” Defense Ukraine wrote on Twitter.
A video showed an English-speaking Ukrainian officer surrounded by five battle-weary soldiers.
The Ukrainian officer explained what the Bushmaster had meant to the forces and the role he played in the recent offensive in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine.
“The Bushmaster armored personnel carrier is used by the Airborne Forces of Ukraine to reach forward operating areas,” he explained.
“We are grateful to the Australian people and government for providing them to us.
“They were a great asset for us in liberating the areas around Kharkiv. Together we are working towards a victory.
A Ukrainian soldier and Bushmaster driver, Vitaly, told the Sydney Morning Herald of his driving experience.
“First of all, it’s very comfortable. It has air conditioning, it’s like a house on wheels. I would have lived inside. I stay in it all the time,” he said.
So far, one Australian Bushmaster is believed to have been destroyed in the fighting, with footage showing a burnt-out vehicle on the side of a road near Trypillia.
Built by Bendigo and ready for combat
The Bushmasters are built by defense contractor Thales Australia in Bendigo.
The military asset, described by Thames Group as a “combat-proven multipurpose protected vehicle”, is a 15-tonne, 7.1-metre-long four-wheel-drive protected vehicle with a payload of four tonnes.
It is designed to protect up to 10 occupants with a “high level” of blast and ballistic protection with excellent off-road mobility.
The first Bushmasters, built in Bendigo, entered service in 2005.
With a top speed of 110 km/h, a road test review by Drive magazine writer Tony Davis described the vehicles off-road capabilities.
“We’re heading towards what is called, with appropriate irony, the ‘kindy circuit’. This tight collection of near-vertical hills, arrow-shaped ridges, muddy ditches and water crossings would be hard work in most serious 4x4s. The Bushmaster just eats it,” he wrote.
The Bushmaster’s price per unit has not been officially released and estimated costs range between $500,000 and $2.5 million, with Australia owning around 1,000.
Australia’s support for Ukraine
Australia was quick to condemn Russia shortly after it invaded Ukraine in February.
The then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne, said of the Russian invasion: “It flagrantly undermines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and has no validity under international law,” she said.
Peter Dutton, Minister of Defense at the time, called the invasion “brutal, relentless, illegal”.
His successor, current defense minister Richard Marles, backed the calls.
“Australia and the UK live in an increasingly uncertain world where events in one region can have devastating effects across the world,” he said earlier this month.
“We need look no further than Russia’s continued and unjustified aggression against Ukraine for proof of that.”
“The use of aggressive military force to coerce and invade neighboring nations cannot be tolerated in the modern world.
“Only by ensuring that such tactics fail in Ukraine can we deter their future use elsewhere.”
The Australian government has since coordinated with the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and others to sanction Russia’s aggression with sanctions and military aid.
In addition to supporting the Ukrainian armed forces with $388 million in military aid, Australia has so far provided an additional $65 million in humanitarian aid, 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal (worth 32, $6 million), $8.7 million to help the Ukrainian Border Guard Service, among others. .
In addition to aid to Ukraine, the Australian government has taken the plunge with a series of measures aimed at holding “Russia accountable for its actions”.
Australia has so far imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans on 843 individuals and 62 entities to inflict heavy costs on those responsible, banned the import of Russian oil, petroleum, coal and gas, banned the export of alumina, bauxite and luxury goods to Russia and introduces an additional 35 percent customs duty on imports from Russia and Belarus.
Australia also banned the import of Russian gold to cut off Russia’s ability to finance its war.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officially considers the dispute a “flagrant violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations”.