Prime Minister Scott Morrison has “praised” Ukraine’s courage and blasted Russias actions in a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has “condemned” Russia and praised Ukraine in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Mr Morrison took to Twitter on Saturday night following his call with Mr Zelenskyy, saying the President had thanked Australia for its ongoing support.
“Just spoke with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. He thanked Australia for our military & humanitarian support & extensive sanctions,” the PM wrote.
Mr Morrison said they then discussed ways Australia could further help Ukraine as Russia continues to threaten the country.
“I praised Ukraine’s courage against Russia’s aggression & condemned Russia’s actions on behalf of us all,” he said.
In a separate tweet, Mr Zelenskyy said he spoke with Mr Morrison about the ongoing risks to Ukrainian citizens and the threat posed to the country’s “nuclear and chemical facilities”.
“I continue negotiations with partners. Told Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP about the course of war. As well as risks to people and the environment due to the threat to Ukrainian nuclear and chemical facilities,” he wrote.
“Thanked for the defence and humanitarian support.”
Mr Morrison has been outspoken in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, placing a number of sanctions on the country.
Last week the PM declared Russia must pay for its “unwarranted and unprovoked” actions, labelling Russian President Vladimir Putin “a thug”.
He conceded Australia’s sanctions would not stop Russia’s acts of aggression, claiming Mr Putin had been planning these acts of violence for a “considerable period of time”.
“But there must be a cost. There must be a price. And it must be imposed by the global community.”
Asked what he thought of the Russian President, Mr Morrison responded: “I call him a thug.”
“We continue to be extremely concerned with the terrible violence we have seen inflicted on the people of Ukraine by Russia, unwarranted, unprovoked,” he said.
Russian troops accused of violating ceasefire
Officials in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, which is surrounded by Russian forces, said they were delaying an evacuation of the civilian population, accusing Moscow’s troops of breaking a ceasefire.
“Due to the fact that the Russian side does not adhere to the ceasefire and has continued shelling both of Mariupol itself and its environs and for security reasons, the evacuation of the civilian population has been postponed,” city officials said in a statement on social media.
Mariupol, a southern city of about 450,000 people on the Azov Sea, was scheduled to begin the evacuations at 0900 GMT, after Russian forces agreed a ceasefire to allow civilians to leave the fighting.
“We ask all Mariupol residents to disperse and head to places where they can shelter. More information about the evacuation will be posted soon,” municipal officials wrote.
“At the moment, negotiations are underway with Russia to establish a ceasefire and ensure a safe humanitarian corridor,” the statement
Russia’s defence ministry announced a ceasefire Saturday to allow residents of two Ukrainian cities that were surrounded by Russian forces, including the strategic port city of Mariupol, to evacuate.
“Today, March 5, from 10am Moscow time (6pm AEDT), the Russian side declares a regimen of silence and opens humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha,” a statement from the ministry said.
The ministry clarified that the location of the humanitarian corridors and exit points had been determined in agreement with the Ukrainian authorities, according to Russian news agencies.
Russian forces have been operating in Ukraine since February 24.
This is the first temporary ceasefire of any kind since Russia first invaded Ukraine.