Australia allocates extra funds for Ukraine
The Australian government has earmarked AU$213.3 million (US$136mn) in additional spending for aid to Ukraine over the next five years. The funding is part of the new federal budget revealed on Tuesday.
Most of the money is to be spent on military assistance, including Bushmaster armored vehicles and other weapon systems that Canberra wants to provide to Kiev over two years. The Labor government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese allocated AU$185.6 million (US$118mn) for this purpose.
The rest of the money will go to providing services such as healthcare to the 6,500 Ukrainian nationals who were granted temporary shelter in Australia, supporting Ukraine’s border guards with cybersecurity, and helping Ukrainians living in the Pacific country to integrate into society.
Australia’s defense spending will receive an 8% boost this year, largely due to a continuation of the policies of Albanese’s predecessor, Liberal PM Scott Morrison.
The Morrison government announced plans to ship 20 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles in early April, citing a request from Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to the national parliament.
Albanese pledged to continue arming Ukraine during his visit to Kiev in July. The government of Australia once called itself “the largest non-NATO contributor” of military aid to Ukraine, but later changed the phrasing to “one of the largest,” citing difficulties with tracking and measuring support by different parties.
An aid tracker run by the Kiev Institute for the World Economy ranks Australia 10th in terms of total aid, if EU institutions are excluded, or 12th if only arms and money meant for military spending are taken into account.