Anthony Albanese visits sites of Russian atrocities in Ukraine

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Mr Albanese, who will arrive home on Tuesday evening, angered Beijing last week by suggesting heed the resolve shown by NATO and allied countries against Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which China has chosen to support and facilitate.

Mr Albanese said the special relationship between Russia and China had “enhanced the implications for the world beyond what is happening in Russia and Ukraine”.

“It’s about whether, in a rules-based international order, you will see a sovereign nation like Ukraine invaded so brutally and illegally by a country that is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.”

No more travel bans in Russia

Australia was already the biggest non-NATO contributor to Ukraine after the Morrison government gave $285 million in military aid and $60 million in humanitarian aid.

Describing some of what he witnessed as war crimes while visiting scenes of Russian atrocities, Mr Albanese pledged an additional $100 million to supply Ukraine with 14 additional armored personnel carriers , 20 additional Bushmaster vehicles and drones.

Mr Albanese said Australia would also ban imports of Russian gold and impose sanctions and travel bans on 16 other Russian ministers and oligarchs, bringing the total number of sanctioned Russian individuals to 843 and 62 entities.

Mr Albanese, who is facing criticism at home for being absent again, especially as NSW suffers another round of severe flooding, will visit flood-hit areas this week.

Mr Albanese said there was also a direct national imperative to his actions.

“The war here has an impact all over the world, not just in its attack on
international rules and the way we conduct ourselves, but it also has a direct impact on the Australian economy,” he said.

“We in Australia are paying Putin’s petrol prices as a direct result of what’s happening here. [which] drives up prices around the world.

“As a result of what is happening here, we have gaps and obstacles to
supply chains being disrupted. We have food shortages all over the world, causing inflation to rise and prices to rise as well.

Mr. Albanese and Mr. Zelenskyy referred to November’s G20 summit in Indonesia, which Vladimir Putin may attend, either in person or, more likely, virtually.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has rejected the Russian president’s ban amid boycott threats from the United States, Britain and other countries.

Mr Zelensky, who was personally invited to attend the summit by Mr Joko during his recent trip to Kyiv, said he was “not sure there will be a large number of participants if [Russia] … decides to attend”.

He said he “can’t imagine getting to” the Indonesian-hosted summit if the war with Russia continues then.

Mr Albanese reiterated that Australia would attend the summit, even if Mr Putin did, because of Australia’s relationship with Indonesia.

But he said Australia supported ‘isolating Russia as much as possible, and my presence here is an indication of that’.

“If it is true that Mr. Putin is attending this meeting, and I don’t know whether he will or not, he will get the welcome he deserves.”

Mr Zelensky thanked Mr Albanese for the increased help, but said: “It’s never enough when you have such an opponent.

“Enough is when we have some sort of advantage, to push them out of our territory,” he said.

“No state can provide that, no matter how hard it tries.”

He said he suggested to Mr Albanese that Australia “join Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction process”, which is expected to cost billions of dollars.

“I am grateful for [Australia’s] decision to join the process. It matters to us, it matters to the whole world,” he said.

“This is a very ambitious project, I would like to express words of gratitude for [the] negotiations, for coming today for Ukraine.

– with swimming pool report

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