Australia Calls on China to Help End War in Ukraine

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong called on China to use its influence to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Wong spoke to reporters Thursday after a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Wong said she held a “constructive” meeting with her Chinese counterpart.

Australia wants China to use its position as a permanent U.N. Security Council member to urge Moscow to stop the war in Ukraine.

Australia has promised to continue to provide military support to Ukraine.  Russian President Vladimir Putin escalated the conflict this week, including threatening the use of all weapons and ordering a mass mobilization of reservists, the first time since World War II.

Wong condemned Russia’s aggression in her remarks Thursday.

“These threats are unthinkable and they are irresponsible,” she said. “His claims of defending Russia’s territorial integrity are untrue. No sham referendum will make them true.  Russia alone is responsible for this illegal and immoral war, and peace must first lie with Russia withdrawing from Ukrainian territory.”

Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor of military aid to Ukraine.  It has sent missiles and armored personnel carriers as well as humanitarian supplies and imposed sanctions on hundreds of Russian politicians, military commanders and businesspeople.   

Canberra has so far spent an estimated $240 million on armaments and military support to Ukraine.  Since February, Australia has granted visas to almost 9,000 Ukrainian refugees.

Opposition lawmakers want Australia to follow the United States and increase its assistance to Ukraine.

Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Birmingham said the world must continue to apply maximum pressure to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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