Australia’s famed Bushmaster military vehicles will be shipped to Ukraine following a plea from the nation’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Mr Zelensky specifically requested the Bushmasters during a historic address to Federal Parliament on Thursday when he appealed for further international aid.
President Volodymyr Zelensky (pictured) specifically requested the Bushmaster while appealing for further international aid on Thursday
The Bushmaster (pictured) is an 11-tonne armoured military vehicle designed to carry and deploy up to ten soldiers onto the battlefield
The Bushmaster is an 11-tonne armoured military vehicle designed to carry and deploy up to 10 soldiers on to the battlefield.
The four-wheel-drive vehicles are built to withstand any environment and protect troops from bomb blasts, and were widely used by the Australian Defence Force during the conflict in Afghanistan.
The Bushmaster can carry mortars and other heavier weapons, and can also be equipped with machine guns and other military equipment.
It can also carry enough fuel and supplies to operate for three days without resupply and has a central tyre inflation system allowing it to function with punctures.
The vehicle’s design means it can serve a variety of roles, including as an ambulance, giving it a fierce reputation amongst Coalition forces in the Middle East with even American troops praising the vehicles.
Mr Morrison has not revealed how many Bushmasters he will ship off or when they will head to Ukraine.
‘We are not just sending our prayers, we are sending our guns, ammunitions, humanitarian aid, all of this, our body armour, all of these things,’ he said.
‘We will send out armoured vehicles, Bushmasters as well and we will fly them over there in our C-17s to make sure they can be there to support.’
Mr Zelensky addressed the Australian parliament on Thursday, warning Russian aggression posed a direct threat to Australia and asking for tanks.
‘You have very good armoured vehicles, Bushmasters, that could help Ukraine substantially, and other pieces of equipment could strengthen our position in terms of armaments,’ he told the parliament.
‘If you have an opportunity to share these with us, we would be very grateful. In Ukraine, they will do much more for our common freedom and common security than staying parked on your land.’
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks before an address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday
The vehicle’s design means it can serve a variety of other roles, including as an ambulance (pictured, Bushmaster armoured vehicle’s prepare for deployment to assist flooded communities in March 2022)
Australia’s Defence Minister Peter Dutton said they were reviewing the number of Bushmasters available and the logistics of sending them to Ukraine in the quantity needed, saying the government was ‘pretty much open to whatever support we can’.
‘The number they need obviously takes longer than what will be ideal. We have identified Bushmasters that we can send and we are going through the logistics of that now,’ he told Sky News.
‘We might only be able to upload three or four Bushmasters onto a C17 (military transport aircraft) at once. The other option is we can try and source something out of Germany or France or somewhere else in Europe.’
The defence minister noted timelines did not allow for the usual process of sending the vehicles by ship.
The federal government also announced a further $25 million in defensive military equipment for the besieged nation ahead of Mr Zelenskiy’s address.
The package includes tactical decoys, unmanned aerial and ground systems, rations and medical supplies.
Mr Morrison used his opening remarks to the address to brand Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal.
Australia will send Bushmasters (pictured) to Ukraine following a request by the war-torn nation’s president Volodymyr Zelensky
‘Ukraine and Australia are separated by half the earth. Our languages, accents, histories and cultures are different but we share an affinity for democracy or freedom,’ Mr Morrison told the president and the parliament.
‘Mr President, you have our praise. But you also have our weapons, our humanitarian aid, our sanctions against those who seek to deny your freedom.’
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese likened Russia’s invasion to the devastation wrought by Hitler in World War II, saying Putin’s aggression was prefaced by a ‘poisonous, nationalistic lie’.
‘As you stand up to this latest tyrant, you are showing us what true courage is,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘It is the courage that is embodied by you (President Zelenskiy). You are fighting for your country and your people.’