Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia has reaffirmed his war-torn nation’s invitation to Anthony Albanese to visit their capital following the NATO Summit.
Vasyl Myroshnychenko also warned other nations including China would be “emboldened” by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The prime minister will travel to Spain next week to attend the summit, as the organisation works to counter Russian aggression.
Speaking at an Australian Strategic Policy Institute forum on Wednesday, Mr Myroshnychenko said his leader President Volodymyr Zelenskiy would be “delighted” to host Mr Albanese if he chose to visit Kyiv off the back of his European trip.
“I think that would send a very strong message of solidarity with Ukraine,” he said.
“It will be the first historic visit of a prime minister of Australia to Ukraine.”
Mr Myroshnychenko called for increased military support and ammunition.
“We need real tanks… Bushmasters are not for fighting,” he said.
“How many more Ukrainian women need to get raped, how many more Ukrainian children need to be killed.”
Four of the 14 promised armoured vehicles are on their way to Ukraine, the federal government announced.
They have been freshly painted and declare Australia is “United with Ukraine,” and are part of the government’s $285 million package of military aid.
Mr Myroshnychenko said Australia was one of the few countries to have re-assessed their environments.
“A Russian victory … will embolden other nations like China,” he said.
“The China of today is not the China of 2012. It’s time other nations to follow Australia’s lead.”
Mr Myroshnychenko said sovereign nations should not be threatened with military invasion for joining pacts to guarantee their security.
“We need to reinforce the global rights of nations to self defence,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Albanese lauded the importance of working with NATO to protect and support Ukraine’s sovereignty.
“That will be an important conference … because of what is happening in Ukraine,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“It’s the first time the leaders of South Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have all been invited and we’ve all accepted the invitation to be NATO partners.
“Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to the effort supporting the sovereignty of Ukraine and their struggle against the barbaric and illegal war being undertaken by Russia.”
Mr Albanese has spoken to NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meeting as he prepares to welcome Asia-Pacific nations for the first time.
Lowy Institute executive director Michael Fullilove said he would encourage Mr Albanese to travel to Ukraine following the NATO summit, to underline Australia’s support.
“The prime minister visiting would add to that … It would continue the personal diplomacy that he’s kicked off so effectively,” he told the National Press Club on Wednesday.
Dr Fullilove said Australia had a “huge stake” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the war paving the way for future conflicts.
“The invasion of Ukraine has been the greatest disruption of the international order since the Second World War,” he said.
“That has implications for us because we have enjoyed the benefits of that order. A Russian victory would make more invasions like this more common – it would be a big win for countries that challenge the international order.”
Japan is also pushing for a sideline meeting with Australia, New Zealand and South Korea to discuss regional security concerns amid China’s expanding influence and aggression, according to local media reports.