Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

‘Winter is going to kill us’: Ukraine ambassador’s plea for Australian coal

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun12,2024
Key Points
  • Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko is calling on Australia to supply Ukraine with coal.
  • He said many cities are experiencing blackouts as Russia targets critical infrastructure.
  • Defence Minister Richard Marles said Australia would continue to stand alongside Ukraine, but did not say whether a further coal shipment would be included as part of the aid.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia has made a plea to the federal government for a coal “lifeline” ahead of winter and potential power surges as the country continues to fight Russia’s invasion.
It comes after Ukrainian officials appealed to the federal government for another coal shipment to help meet its energy needs as Russia targets power plants with missile and drone attacks.
Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko said Ukraine formally requested coal from the Australian government six months ago but had received no response.
“Coal is not a lifestyle choice for us, coal for us is a lifeline (because) it’s a matter of survival, it’s making sure other industries get electricity, making sure that our houses get electricity, making sure we have heating for the winter,” he told SBS News on Monday.

“Russians are killing us with missiles, but winter is going to kill us because of the cold. And winter is coming in 5-6 months from now in October, so it’s already pretty soon and we need to get ready for that.”

Earlier, Defence Minister Richard Marles said Australia would continue to stand alongside Ukraine, but did not say whether a further coal shipment would be included as part of the aid.
“The support that we’re providing now is very much focused on military support around allowing Ukraine to prosecute this conflict with Russia, and that is where our focus is, and that is where Ukraine wants our focus to be,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“We have a very clear dialogue with Ukraine about how best we can provide support, and we are meeting the requests in the most practical way possible.”
Myroshnychenko agreed military assistance was a priority, but said coal supply was critical humanitarian support.

“Military assistance is a top priority in making sure we can defeat the Russians on the ground, and coal is part of the humanitarian assistance,” he said.

Richard Marles wearing a suit

Defence Minister Richard Marles visited Ukraine in April. Source: AAP / Joel Carrett

“This is what our people need, this is what our economy needs, as well as the need for future reconstruction.. we will have to rebuild the country.

“But at this stage, we need to win the war, we need to survive and we need to make sure our economy is operating.”
The federal government announced a .

Since the start of the invasion in 2022, the federal government has provided more than $1 billion in support to Ukraine, including $880 million in military assistance.

Opposition foreign spokesman Simon Birmingham told SBS News on Monday Australia should approve Ukraine’s request.
“Ukraine’s request has been gathering dust for far too long,” he said.
“They’ve already suffered through one long, cold winter, and the Albanese government shouldn’t leave them suffering for another long, cold winter without approving this request and sending the coal as quickly as possible.”

– With additional reporting by the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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