Australia has sent the first four of 14 armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine as part of a $285 million aid package.

The M113AS4s were loaded into a Ukrainian aircraft last week after the former defence minister Peter Dutton promised the personnel carriers and 20 additional Bushmaster protected infantry vehicles in May.

Ukraine ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko called for further military aid, particularly long-range missiles that can strike targets at a range of 150km as well as ammunition as stockpiles dwindle.

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 “For us to move forward we need a steady supply of weapons,” Mr Myroshnychenko told AAP.

Australia continues to assess further military and humanitarian aid for the war-torn country.

“We will continue to look at ways we can best help the people of Ukraine. Australia stands with Ukraine, and again calls on Russia to cease its unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine,” Defence Minister Richard Marles said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese again condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as he pledged further support. 

“Australia, like many nations, condemns the continuing unwarranted aggression of Russia against the people of Ukraine,” he said.

“Our nation has stood by Ukraine since the beginning of this unlawful conflict and we are proud to be able to provide access to significant capabilities such as the armoured personnel carriers that have travelled in the past week.”

The announcement comes after Russia sanctioned 121 Australians, including journalists, media heads, resource magnates and defence officials for promoting a “Russophobic agenda”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy invited Mr Albanese to visit Kyiv in a hand-signed letter after Mr Myroshnychenko returned to Kyiv for eight days and met with top political and military officials.

Mr Albanese has yet to announce whether he would accept the invitation, citing security concerns when asked by reporters on Friday. 

The prime minister will be in Spain next week for a NATO meeting and may make a trip to France to meet with President Emmanuel Macron. 

Peace talks between the neighbouring countries are slated to resume at the end of August after Ukraine carries out a series of counter-attacks, Kyiv’s chief negotiator says.

with DPA

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