UK and Australia work together to get vital aid to Ukraine

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in front of Number 10 Downing Street. Picture by Tim Hammond / No 10 Downing Street

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne call on Russia to allow safe access for aid to Ukraine.

The UK and Australia have announced joint plans to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Ukraine impacted by President Putin’s illegal war.

Under the UK-Australia humanitarian partnership, the first of two chartered flights carrying hygiene kits, solar lights, kitchen sets and blankets along with other basic necessities will leave on Tuesday (29 March) to help the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) meet the immediate needs of people displaced by the conflict.

This humanitarian relief involves the UK providing and organising delivery of the supplies, with Australia contributing to the funding, and is part of both countries’ broader humanitarian support to Ukraine. This ensures that the aid can reach Ukraine in the quickest and easiest way and is an example of the close partnership between the UK and Australia in action.

The items will arrive by plane to Poland and UNHCR will distribute in Ukraine and Moldova to support the growing number of refugees. Diesel powered heaters, heavy duty groundsheets, generators and shelters are some of the other items being delivered and distributed.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said:

The UK is working with our great friends Australia to support the people of Ukraine who have had their lives destroyed by Russia’s brutal, unprovoked invasion.

We call on Russia to enable safe humanitarian access and safe passage for people to flee the violence.

The UK and Australia call on Russia to allow the safe passage of civilians from conflict affected areas in Ukraine and safe access for the provision of humanitarian assistance.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said:

Australia is appalled by Russia’s indiscriminate attacks on civilians who have borne the brunt of these illegal and reprehensible actions.

Australian assistance will ensure over 8,000 relief items, such as blankets, hygiene and kitchen sets, and lighting, reach displaced Ukrainians facing cold temperatures.

As we do in the Indo-Pacific, Australia is proud to work with the United Kingdom to alleviate human suffering wherever it occurs.

The UK has also made its largest-ever aid match contribution to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) for its Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, matching the first £25 million donated by the public. The DEC appeal has raised over £200 million so far.

In total the UK has committed £400 million in urgent economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine since the invasion, including support grants, donations and humanitarian aid. This includes a £220 million package of aid helping aid agencies provide medical supplies and basic necessities, saving lives and protecting vulnerable people.

Australia is providing AUD65 million in humanitarian funding to help meet the urgent needs of the Ukrainian people. At the start of the conflict, Australia provided AUD35 million to trusted humanitarian partners, enabling them to rapidly respond to immediate priorities. An additional AUD30 million in humanitarian assistance will help the most vulnerable including children, elderly and disabled, and women.

Australia will also support Ukraine’s energy security by donating at least 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal.

To encourage Australians to respond to the crisis in Ukraine, the Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme’s list of eligible countries will be amended so that donations to approved organisations supporting Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary will be tax deductible.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has been working with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to deliver the supplies. Previously, this humanitarian arrangement was used when a Tsunami hit Tonga in January and the UK contributed to the delivery of pallets of aid, which were transported to Tonga by Australian partners.

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