Nearly a year after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s envoy has a warning for Australia

  • The Ambassador of Ukraine urges Australians not to forget their people.
  • He warns that Ukraine’s loss in the war will have “devastating” consequences for our region.
  • According to him, Ukraine needs at least 300 additional armored vehicles.
Sitting in the sunny courtyard of Parliament House in Canberra, Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia realizes that rockets and sub-zero temperatures seem far away.
But Vasily Miroshnichenko appeals to the Australians: do not forget us.
“Sometimes [that’s] difficult, especially when you are in the southern hemisphere. You are in the middle of summer, people are on the beach having a barbecue,” he told SBS News as the first anniversary of the Russian invasion approaches.
thousands of its military and civilians have died, peace talks have failed, and it is now widely believed that both countries are planning new offensives.
Ambassador of Ukraine to Australia Vasily Miroshnichenko

Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia Vasily Miroshnichenko urged Australians to remember the plight of his people. A source: AARP / Dan Himbrechts

The conflict seems to have no end in sight.

‘Pandora’s Box’

Miroshnichenko warns that the defeat of Ukraine could have “devastating” consequences not only for Europe but also for Australia.
“It would open a Pandora’s box, effectively pushing other authoritarian leaders to go and change the borders by force,” he said.
“It will embolden Iran, it may embolden China… The world cannot afford it.”
In September, the OECD estimated t this year than forecast in December 2021, months before the invasion.
A map showing how Russian-held territory in Ukraine has changed over time.gif

Since then, global gas prices and inflation have skyrocketed, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accusing Russia of deliberately raising food prices by blocking grain exports.

Ukraine has managed to retake about half of its territory, although it confirmed on Wednesday that it had withdrawn troops from Soledar, a small salt-mining town to the east.
As Ukraine made gains last summer and fall, Moscow’s attention turned to damaging its energy supply. Ukrainians, who have already endured months of heavy bombardment, will now be forced to shiver through a harsh winter.

Kyiv says Russian troops have damaged nearly 40 percent of its power grid. But despite Moscow’s best efforts, it insists that gas and coal reserves will last until spring.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

During a visit to Ukraine in July, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese pledged to support the country “until Ukraine comes out victorious.” A source: ABACUS / ABAKA/PA

‘No one knows’

The United Nations has confirmed the deaths of nearly 7,000 civilians in Ukraine since Russia launched what it calls a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine—goals rejected by Kyiv and the West as a pretext for war.
In December, Zelenskiy’s adviser said between 10,000 and 13,000 Ukrainian servicemen had died. But a month earlier, United States Major General Mark Milley had estimated that both sides had lost about 100,000 men each.

This week, Mr. Milli warned that the withdrawal of Russian troops this year would be “very difficult” and Mr. Miroshnichenko acknowledged that “no one knows” how the conflict will develop in the coming months.


It has been almost a year since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. A source: AFP / SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images

But continued bloodshed threatened to worsen the situation “for everyone, including Australia,” he said.

“Paradoxically, in order to end this war, more weapons need to be supplied to Ukraine, believe it or not. That’s the only thing Russia will understand,” he said.
“It is in the interest of the free world, including Australia, to provide more assistance to Ukraine so… we can normalize markets.

“Much depends on the unity of our friends and partners.”

“Stay United”

Australia’s contribution to the war is approaching $500 million after 70 Australian troops were sent to the UK this month to train Ukrainian forces. Canberra also sent 90 Australian-made Bushmasters to the front.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese traveled to Bendigo on Friday to inspect the Bushmasters, who he said had “great practical differences” on the ground.
“[The Ukrainian people] fight and fight for the rule of law. They are fighting for national sovereignty. They are fighting for the right of a smaller country not to be invaded by a larger country,” he said.
Mr. Miroshnichenko described Germany’s permission to send its Leopard tanks to the battlefield as a “big turning point” but estimated that Ukraine needed at least 300 additional armored vehicles.

“If Australia could also provide some of these tanks, it would be a great help … The important thing is that Australia exists and goes in sync with its partners,” he said.

The United States, which has invested more than $37 billion in the conflict, announced another escalation of support this week with 31 tanks.
But a group of hard-line Republicans – the party now has a majority in the US Congress – are pushing for a complete halt to Ukraine’s funding.
After the lightning-fast reaction of the world community in the first days of the conflict, Mr. Miroshnichenko urges not to overwork.

“It is important that we remain united… When [Moscow] sees strength and unity, then we will be able to physically drive the Russians out of Ukraine. That is when we can put an end to the war,” he said.