Protesters in Australia step up pressure to send retired MRH-90 helicopters to Ukraine instead of dismantling them, ABC Australia reported.
“The Australian government, for some reason, wants us all, the taxpayers, to pay close to $2 billion to dismantle them, to bury it in Australian soil, to pollute the environment instead of helping a friend in need,” said Anton Bogdanovych, who helped organize a rally of Ukrainian supporters in Sydney on Sunday.
In September last year, the Australian Army’s MRH-90 helicopters were retired 14 months earlier than scheduled after a crash in Queensland killed four defense personnel during a training exercise. Ukraine officially requested the MRH-90s on 19 December 2023, despite the aircraft’s safety and operational concerns. “Our assessment of risk is different. We’re at war,” Bogdanovych said.
The co-chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations, Kateryna Argyrou, said that “the Australian government, unfortunately, hasn’t communicated why those helicopters have been decommissioned and why they are being buried into the ground.”
Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko said he’s “hoping that there’s still a possibility … because we didn’t get any reply yet.”
The disassembly process has already begun, according to ABC.
Australia has been one of the largest non-NATO contributors to boost Ukrainian defense capabilities against Russian invasion. In particular, Australia has provided Ukraine with 120 Bushmaster vehicles and other support.
- The Australian company sells its new Slinger anti-drone systems to Ukraine
- Ukraine will purchase 100 Remote Weapon Systems from Australia
- Australia commits additional $ 126 mn to train Ukrainian soldiers
- Australia boosts Ukraine’s defense with additional Bushmaster armored vehicles
- Australia to send reconnaissance aircraft to Germany to protect supplies to Ukraine