The Australian government will be sending 20 Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles, including two ambulance variants, to Ukraine to help it defend against the Russian invasion.
While Australian minister Peter Dutton already confirmed the vehicles would be gifted to Ukraine after Ukrainian president after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy specifically asked for them in an appeal to Australian lawmakers on March 31, the government has now specified the amount and types of vehicles that will be sent.
The defense ministry initially said it would not reveal when the vehicles would be transferred and how remains a secret, at the direct request of Ukrainian officials and other partners involved in providing as much military assistance to Ukraine as possible.
However, the Australian Army shared on social media that the first three vehicles were loaded onto a C-17A at RAAF Base Amberley on April 8 for their delivery.
What the Australian government did reveal is that the 20 vehicles are painted olive green to suit the operating environment. Additionally, a Ukrainian flag is painted on either side with the words “United with Ukraine” stenciled in English and Ukrainian.
The ambulances will have the traditional Red Cross emblem.
The Bushmaster will be fitted with radios, a global positioning system and additional bolt-on armor increasing their protection. The defense ministry said it would continue to work with the Ukraine to develop a suitable logistics support package, while training will be conducted through Army video training with Ukrainian subtitles.
The Bushmaster was built in Australia to provide protected mobility transport, safely moving soldiers to a battle area prior to dismounting for close combat. The Bushmaster is well suited to provide protection to the Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers and Ukrainian civilians against mines and improvised explosive devices, shrapnel from artillery and small arms fire.
To date, Australia has committed a total of around A$116 million of defensive military assistance to Ukraine, and the addition of these vehicles will take this commitment to around $165 million. In addition, Australia is delivering 70,000 tons of coal to power Ukraine’s resistance, on top of $65 million in humanitarian assistance for the people of Ukraine, with a focus on protecting women, children and the elderly, including for food, shelter and emergency medical supplies.
“Australia stands with the government and people of Ukraine, and calls on Russia to cease its unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine. The Australian government will continue to take steps, together with our partners, to ensure Russia pays the highest possible price for its actions,” the defense ministry said in a statement.