Australia has provided humanitarian and military aid to the besieged nation with the government sending 20 refitted Bushmaster vehicles as part of a $50million package.
The heroic president who sat down with 60 Minutes reporter Tom Steinfort, said he would like to give a special message to those watching at home.
Staring straight down the camera, the president said the support Australia had provided his war-torn country in its time of need was unforgettable.
‘You have to know that Ukraine will always remember, it will be written in our history books about your help, thanks a lot,’ a visibly emotional Zelensky said.
The veteran reporter had flown in with his production team to an undisclosed bunker in Kyiv to spend some time with the revered world leader who has faced down Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invading forces.
60 Minutes reporter Tom Steinfort attempted to give Volodymyr Zelensky a packet of Tim Tams and bottle of red wine before the gifts were confiscated
Mr Zelensky revealed it’s hard for people overseas to comprehend then full extent of the horror currently unfolding in the eastern European nation.
‘It’s very difficult for them. You can’t feel the pain before you lose someone. You can’t feel the pain until you’re wounded,’ he replied.
‘I am not wishing anyone to feel that pain, I’m just telling that this is the feeling.’
Steinfort then asked his high-profile guest what he imagined victory would look like.
‘To return what is ours, to return the calmness, the tranquility, to have our people returned. I don’t need anything extra,’ Zelensky said.
The Australian journalist had attempted to gift the president a packet of Tim Tams and an expensive bottle of red wine before the gifts were confiscated.
Steinfort had wanted to give the iconic chocolate biscuits and Penfolds wine to the president after he agreed to an interview with the Nine Network, but tough security restrictions in place to protect the president from assassins would not allow it.
The team received a text message at 10.39pm informing him of the location before he went to the undisclosed bunker in the capital.
Ukrainian soldiers stopped Steinfort at the door before confiscating the items, he wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Steinfort received a text message at 10.39pm informing him of the location before he went to the undisclosed bunker in Kyiv with his gifts in hand (stock image)
‘We need to send these away for testing before giving them to the president, we can’t risk radiation poisoning,’ the soldiers told Steinfort.
Steinfort said his production team had to pass through several roadblocks being patrolled by armed troops, follow soldiers down a concealed alleyway and go through an x-ray machine before meeting Zelensky.
‘There, we have to put all of our equipment through x-ray machines, go through more passport checks, and are then handed to the dog squad who sniff our belongings for explosives,’ he wrote.
The production team were led to the same room where Zelensky had met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for face-to-face talks days earlier.
Steinfort said Zelensky pulled him to the side to chat with him briefly before the cameras recorded the interview.
The Ukrainian president had nothing but praise for Australia.
Steinfort wanted to give the iconic chocolate biscuits and a bottle of Penfolds to the Ukrainian president after he agreed to an interview with the Nine Network
‘Before our cameras roll, he wants to tell me about how much he loves Australia – volunteering a story about when he visited Sydney many years ago, and got lost on a morning run,’ Steinfort wrote.
‘He says he was struck by how many complete strangers offered to help this random Ukrainian find his way back to his hotel.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says there is no rush to deal with the issue of Russian President Vladimir Putin attending the next G20 leaders’ summit.
Mr Putin and Zelensky have agreed to attend the G20 summit to be held in Bali in November.
Russia is a member while Mr Zelensky would attend as an invited observer.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says there is no rush to deal with the issue of Russian President Vladimir Putin attending the next G20 leaders’ summit
G20 host leader and Indonesian President Joko Widodo has spoken with Mr Zelensky and Mr Putin, urging them to end the war and offering to play a role in peace negotiations.
Indonesia has rejected the Ukrainian leader’s request for arms on constitutional and foreign policy grounds, but instead will send humanitarian aid.
Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Sunday the issue of Mr Putin’s attendance ‘still has some distance to travel’.
He said Australia would consult with other like-minded countries, but the key was to ensure the Indonesian summit was successful.
‘We don’t know what the situation (in Ukraine) will be in November of this year,’ Mr Morrison said.
Bushmaster armoured vehicles that Australia is sending to Ukraine amid the deadly war against Russia are refitted and repainted with a heartfelt message
BY KYLIE STEVENS
Australia has ramped up its support for Ukrainian forces by sending $50million worth of military vehicles to assist in the European nation’s ongoing war with Russia.
The first convoy of 20 refitted Bushmaster vehicles will leave Brisbane on aircraft C-17 Globemasters.
Australia is one of the first countries to provide combat vehicle support to Ukraine as the Russian invasion enters its sixth week.
The armoured vehicles have been repainted olive green with Ukraine’s flag stencilled on each side.
The first Bushmaster PMV is loaded into a C-17 Globemaster aircraft headed for Ukraine following the federal government announcement
Ukraine Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko thanks Major General Scott Winter after Australia announced $50million worth of military vehicles will be sent to the Ukraine
Australia is one of the first countries to provide combat vehicle support to Ukraine (pictured is a vehicle being repainted)
The words ‘United with Ukraine’ are also emblazoned on the vehicles in both English Ukrainian in a pledge of solidarity.
The vehicles have been fitted with radios, a global positioning system and additional bolt-on armour, along with protection against mines, artillery shrapnel and small arms fire.
‘Australia may be thousands of kilometres away but we’re standing side by side with Ukraine against this illegal invasion with arms, equipment, aid and even energy sources,’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
‘Once again Ukraine has asked for our help and once again we have stepped up.’
‘Our Australian-designed and made Bushmasters are known around the world for their usefulness in a combat zone and they will help boost Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s unprovoked and illegal violence.
‘This fight is important because not only are Ukrainian lives and their lands at stake, but so are the principles of freedom and the rule of law.’
Two ambulatory vehicles (one pictured on Friday) are among 20 retired Bushmaster PMVs which were repainted and refitted to be used in the Ukraine
Defence Minister Peter Dutton, Ukraine Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko and Major General Scott Winter checked out the first convoy of Bushmaster PMVs now on their to the Ukraine
The combat vehicles (pictured being refitted) will provide support to Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia
The military support is the result of a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy after he addressed federal parliament a week ago.
It’s on top of almost $120million in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
The retired Bushmasters previously been used by Australian forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and disaster zones at home.
‘It is one of the world leading vehicles and it provides protection to the crew that are onboard that,’ defence minister Peter Dutton told the Today show on Friday.
‘It will be a big win for the Ukrainian forces in their attempts to stare down the barbaric efforts of the Russian forces.’
Meanwhile, Mr Morrison and more than 200 other Australian officials have been banned from entering Russia.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton (pictured left with Ukraine Ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko) inspected the vhicles before the first convoy left Brisbane
The first of the armoured vehicles will make their way from Brisbane RAAF Base Amberley to Ukraine on Friday
The ban is in response to foreign minister Marise Payne declared Australia will take action against 67 elites linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a new round of sanctions.
Mr Dutton said Australia will continue to stand with Ukraine again tyranny and autocrats.
‘People have fought and died for the freedoms that we have in our country. We need to realise we just can’t take for granted what we have – our system of democracy and freedom of speech,’ he said.
‘These are values that dictators like Putin and Hitler and others will always be against. We need to stand up against them.’
The Ukrainian flag is painted on each side of every vehicle, along with a special message written in English and Ukrainian
WHAT IS THE BUSHMASTER?
The Bushmaster Protected Military Vehicle (PMV) – or Infantry Mobility Vehicle – is an Australian built, four-wheel drive armoured vehicle that has seen action in several wars.
Nicknamed ‘The Bushy,’ the PMV is designed to transport troops safely through war zones and to deploy them on the front-lines.
- First produced: 1997
- Number built: 1,195
- Cost: $500,000 (AUD)
- Crew: 1 driver, 9 passengers
- Weight: 11 – 15 tonnes
- Designed by: Australian Defence Industries (ADI)
- Currently produced by: Thales Australia (formerly ADI)
- Used in: War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, East Timor, Golan Heights, Iraqi Civil War, Syrian Civil War, Northern Mali Conflict
- Used by: Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Fiji, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, The Netherlands. (Several others, including the United States , France and Spain, have expressed an interest)
- Variants: Several versions of ‘The Bushy’ have been produced. These include: Troop, Command, Air Defence, Ambulance, Assault Pioneer, Mortar variant, Direct Fire Weapons, General Maintenance.