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Ukraine’s plea for help

September 09th, 2022

The Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, made a passionate case for Australian support and aid during the Philanthropy Australia national conference, detailing the grief and devastation the Russian invasion is having on his homeland.

Ambassador Myroshnychenko recounted how Ukrainian President Zelensky had asked Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during the Australian’s recent visit to Ukraine for his government to spearhead a program to adopt a Ukrainian region for rebuilding.

“This would involve Commonwealth money, [support from] regional governments, municipalities, private citizens, corporates to help rebuild that part of Ukraine,’’ the Ambassador explained. “There are so many different ways that Ukraine can be supported.’’

As the war in Ukraine reaches 200 days, evidence of the impact on Ukraine and the ripple effect on global economy grows.

Five million people have left Ukraine since the war started, the Ambassador said, and another 10 million have been displaced.

“Every morning when I open my Facebook, it’s an obituary – there is always a story of someone getting killed, somebody I knew, somebody’s son, somebody’s father….,’’ the Ambassador said.

Surging global prices of commodities and for energy are being felt in Australia, but the massive grain harvests that underpin so much of the Ukrainian economy are rotting because Russian blockade of ports has prevented its export.

The Australian Government has already committed $400m in military assistance to Ukraine, and the NSW and Queensland governments have also been supportive, along with a range of private citizens. Philanthropy too has responded, with Minderoo supporting grain storage facilities.

Ambassador Myroshnychenko said that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians believed they would win the war. Many of them were showing remarkable courage.

“This war is existential for us – because if Russia’s stop fighting, it’s the end of the war. If we stop fighting, it’s the end of Ukraine. So, we don’t have any alternative but to fight,’’ he said.

“I do believe we can rebuild the country…[and] it’s important that we get the necessary support from our allies and partners…. it’s fundamental for us: we’re there defending democracy, defending human rights, defending the values which are so dear to Australians.’’  

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