From January next year, Australia will join an international military operation to provide critical training for Ukrainian troops in response to Russia’s continuing violation of international law. The announcement of the training mission was the latest update in the government’s continuing assistance for Ukraine, which also included an additional 30 Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles. Up to 70 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel will deploy to the United Kingdom to support British-led Operation Interflex, a major training operation with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This brings the total number of gifted Bushmasters to 90.
Australians will join personnel deployed from New Zealand, Canada and various European countries already helping to generate additional capacity within the Ukrainian Armed Forces. No Australian Defence Force personnel will enter Ukraine. Australia has provided Ukraine with about $655 million in support, including $475 million in military assistance. Australia has been unequivocal in its bipartisan support for Ukraine and its condemnation of President Putin. Australia has been unequivocal in its bipartisan support for Ukraine and its condemnation of President Putin.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles, said,”Military assistance was at the centrepiece of Australia’s support. Our soldiers will be part of a large training program in the United Kingdom to help prepare their Ukrainian mates for their struggle against Russia’s unwarranted and unlawful aggression. Since their arrival, the Bushmasters have been used extensively by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, with more requested by the Ukrainian President, Minister for Defence and the ambassador. This is not just about Ukraine’s sovereignty; the brave people of Ukraine are defending international law, rules and norms.”
The Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle or Infantry Mobility Vehicle is an Australian-built four-wheel drive armoured vehicle. The Bushmaster was primarily designed by the then government-owned Australian Defence Industries (ADI), and is currently produced by Thales Australia following their acquisition of ADI. The Bushmaster is currently in service with the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Netherlands Army, British Army, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, Indonesian Army, Fiji Infantry Regiment, Jamaica Defence Force, New Zealand Army and the Armed Forces of Ukraine.