Australian prime minister Scott Morrison offered his support to the Ukrainian community on Sunday, 27 February, 2022.

AUSTRALIA. DOORSTOP, ST ANDREWS UKRAINIAN CHURCH

LIDCOMBE, NSW, SUNDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2022

FROM THE HON. SCOTT MORRISON MP, PRIME MINISTER:

It was very moving today for Jenny and I and my colleagues to be part of the wonderful service to offer our prayers for the people of Ukraine, to pray for a peace, a peace that is not just the absence of war, but a peace that enables people of Ukraine to live according to their own rules, according to their own sovereignty, and to have their own freedom and not be threatened or subject to violence and persecution and intimidation from across their border from Russia.

So today was an opportunity to pray for that peace and to offer encouragement to Australians of Ukrainian ancestry and to meet so many of them here. I think they are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that they’ve received, not just from within the Christian faith community, but right across the entire country. Australians have really wrapped their arms around, and the Australian government will continue to stand up for what is right when it comes to Ukraine.

We are already providing significant support in terms of non-lethal aid, but I’ve just spoken with the Defence Minister and we’ll be seeking to provide whatever support we can for lethal aid through our NATO partners, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom. And we’ll be working through those channels because that’s the most effective way to do it. They are already providing support in these areas and we will be assisting them with what they are doing.

The other issue that is very pressing is the issue of humanitarian support, and we are seeing the terrible tragedy unfold and Australia, once again, will be doing heavy lifting in all of those areas. Already, the Immigration Minister can confirm that the rapid processing of Ukrainian visas to Australia has been completed as of today. We are processing all visas that are coming in from Ukraine as a priority and they are getting the top priority in terms of them being processed. We will also be providing no doubt in the months to come and the years to come support through our humanitarian programme, but not just the humanitarian programme. The support through visas will come through all aspects of the visa programme to Australia. So that is in the family programme, that’s in the skills programme, it’s in the student programme. The humanitarian programme will not be the only programme through which we are providing support. And after two years where our immigration intake has been low, there is quite a lot of room within those programmes to take in more places and Ukrainians will have a priority in terms of processing for those visas. We’ve been in these situations before. We provided safe haven to the Kosovars for several years. But those who are from Ukraine, I have no doubt would want to go home to the Ukraine. And so whether it’s in temporary support at their request or whether it’s support longer-term or indeed providing humanitarian support and giving assistance to the Polish Government, especially in those bordering Ukraine, we will be engaged in those activities as well with the rest of the global community.

But for Jenny and I to be here with my colleagues today just simply to offer our prayers and our encouragement and support on behalf of the Australian people has been very important, and I’m very grateful for the warm reception that we’ve had.

(Press Office of The Hon. Scott Morrison, MP, Sydney).

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