Ukraine president to address Australian parliament

By Tom Ravlic

March 31, 2022

Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Commonwealth parliamentarians will assemble in the house of representatives this afternoon to hear from Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The Ukrainian president has addressed the legislatures of democracies, including the UK, Canada, and the US.

His address will take place at 5.30pm and the house of representatives chamber will suspend its usual program for the speech.

Senators will come from the upper house and assemble in the house of representatives to hear the Ukrainian president.

His speech will be preceded by addresses from prime minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese.

Zelenskyy’s address will come just days after Morrison updated the parliament on the state of the war in Ukraine and Australia’s efforts to assist with both humanitarian and lethal aid.

He said it was clear from his direct communications with Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian political leaders that there was a continuing need for aid to help Ukrainian forces continue their fight against the Russian army.

“Australians understand this, and we have already provided $91 million worth of defensive military assistance to the Ukrainian armed forces,” Morrison said.

“We will continue to do this. Our contributions complement actions taken by our partners such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, the European Union, other European nations and, indeed, New Zealand.”

Morrison said he had spoken with New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern about logistical issues related to getting aid being provided by New Zealand across to Ukraine and that “we are assisting with the airlift of what they are providing to Ukraine through Australian carriers”.

Albanese also addressed the parliament on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and said what Russia had done was beyond description.

“Orchestrated by Vladimir Putin, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has trampled the fundamental principles which have made the world safer since the devastation of World War II. Russia has called sanctions an act of war,” Albanese said.

“It has attacked nuclear power plants. It has inflicted terrible injury and death on innocent civilians. There is no justification for this aggression, which was built up over many, many months and can be traced back to the Russian aggression we saw in Crimea.”


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