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​Australia To Extend Ukrainians’ Visas By Six Months

Vivienne Kelly

Published 

​Australia To Extend Ukrainians’ Visas By Six Months

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

In the wake of escalating conflict between Ukraine, Russia and other world powers, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said his Government will do what it can to protect Ukrainians in Australia.

Ukrainian citizens whose visas run out on June 30, will have them extended by six months.

In addition, the 430 outstanding visa applications for Ukrainians to come to Australia will be given priority.

"We've taken all the visa applications of Ukrainian citizens and put them at the top of the pile, and I've asked for them to be resolved as quickly as possible, so that those Ukrainian citizens might come to Australia," Morrison said on the Today show this morning.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

He said Australia was also working with countries such as Poland which were likely to end up taking in 'large numbers of displaced persons' should the conflict escalate further.

In a press conference this morning, he reiterated that the country's thoughts are with the people of Ukraine.

"Our thoughts this morning are also with the 38,000 Australians of Ukrainian descent who are rightly very concerned about their loved ones, their family, their friends who are in Ukraine and face the threats of intimidation and violence from a nation in Russia that is seeking to bully them to their own ends," he added.

Despite criticism that Australia's punitive measures will likely have no impact on Putin's intentions, decisions or operations, Morrison said, so far, the Ukrainian Government is grateful for Australia's support.

"Last night I spoke with the Ukrainian Prime Minister to reaffirm our unwavering commitment, unwavering commitment, to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and denounced Russia's aggressive behaviour towards Ukraine," he said.

"The Prime Minister was deeply grateful for two things.

"First of all, obviously our support for them and the rule of international law and the protections that should afford them.

"But equally, he was very appreciative of the support and encouragement that was being provided by the Australian people and the support of the people of Ukrainian descent in Australia."

Earlier this week, Morrison also extended his thoughts and sympathies to Russians living in Australia, saying his Government's issue was not with them - but rather with the Russian Government and President Vladimir Putin.

Lee Hsien Loong, Vladimir Putin & Scott Morrison
Lee Hsien Loong, Vladimir Putin & Scott Morrison

"And I feel for the Russian people and there are many Australians of Russian extraction here who I now will be very disappointed by what President Putin is doing," he said.

"They will feel strongly about that because that is not what they believe their country is about, that is not what their values are about or their heritage."

He called upon this notion again at today's press conference, saying many, if not all, of the 80,000 Russians in Australia would likely be 'equally appalled' by the country's current actions.

"That's why they have come to Australia, because Australia is a country that values the rule of law and does not bully or coerce our neighbours. And, in fact, we stand up to those who do so."

Topics: Ukraine, News, Scott Morrison, Australia, Russia

Vivienne Kelly
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