Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (17:45): I am proud and privileged here today to support this motion in support of Ukraine and all its people:
That this house—
(a) notes with great sadness that 24 February 2023 marks the first anniversary of the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine;
(b) deplores the actions of Russia invading Ukraine and calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the total withdrawal of Russian forces;
(c) notes the terrible toll caused by the war with international estimates of more than 40,000 deaths, more than 90,000 casualties and the displacement of more than 14 million people;
(d) affirms the resolutions of the 11th emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly, calling for the full protection of civilians, including humanitarian personal, journalists and vulnerable persons;
(e) congratulates South Australians for the warmth and friendship they have shown Ukrainians, displaced by the conflict, who have settled in our great state; and
(f) resolves to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes, to ensure peace and independence is returned for the Ukrainian people—SLAVA UKRAINI!
On 24 February 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which began in 2014, with the annexation of Crimea. Putin fully underestimated the capability of the Ukraine. I think he thought he would be in and out in three weeks. The invasion has caused tens of thousands of deaths on both sides and instigated Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II. About eight million Ukrainians were displaced within their country by June 2022, and more than eight million had fled the country by February 2023.
The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the invasion and demanding a full withdrawal of Russian forces. The International Court of Justice ordered Russia to suspend military operations, and the Council of Europe expelled Russia. Many countries, including Australia, have imposed sanctions on Russia and on its ally Belarus, and provided humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.
Protests have occurred around the world. Those in Russia were met with mass arrests and increased media censorship. I am very proud of the aid our state and our country has provided Ukraine, and in response to the illegal invasion Australia has worked with partners to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable for its actions. This includes committing military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, providing duty free access for Ukrainian imports, prioritising visa applications from Ukrainian nationals and imposing sanctions on Russia and Belarussian individuals and organisations, among others. As of October 2022, Australia has provided Ukraine with a total of approximately $655 million in support, including $475 million in military assistance. This commitment demonstrates our proud country's continued commitment and support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
I want to spend a few moments talking about the agricultural powerhouse that Ukraine is, which has come to note so much more with this conflict. Ukraine is one of the world's top agricultural producers and exporters and plays a critical role in supplying oilseeds and grains to the global market. More than 55 per cent of Ukraine's land area is arable land. Agriculture provides employment for 14 per cent of Ukraine's population.
Agricultural products are Ukraine's most important exports. In 2021, they totalled $27.8 billion, accounting for 41 per cent of the country's $68 billion in overall exports. Ukraine produces one-third of the world's sunflower oil and accounts for nearly half of the world's global exports. Those exports were valued at $6.4 billion in 2021. For rapeseed, Ukraine is the world's sixth largest producer and third largest exporter, with shipments totalling $1.7 billion in 2021. Ukraine is the world's sixth largest corn producer and was forecast to be the fourth largest exporter in marketing year 2021-22.
For soybeans, Ukraine is the world's ninth largest producer and seventh largest exporter, with sales valued at $600 million in 2021. Ukraine is the world's seventh largest wheat producer and was forecast to be the fifth largest exporter for the 2021-22 marketing year. What has happened with the war has reduced cereals and oilseeds export availability from Ukraine and is pushing up international food and feed prices.
Moreover, global energy and fertiliser prices have increased from their already high levels due to Russia's aggression and the resulting uncertainty related to the availability of Russian energy and fertiliser globally. As the agrifood sector is highly energy intensive, rising energy and fertiliser prices are translating into higher production costs and contributing to food price increases.
In regard to the military aid that our great country has supported Ukraine with through that $475 million, it is delivering important capabilities to the Ukrainian armed forces and supporting its defence. I want to acknowledge the many hundreds of thousands of troops in Ukraine doing such a great job in pushing back the aggressor. In that, I want to acknowledge, alongside the men, the at least 50,000 women in your armed forces, with at least 5,000 of those serving on the frontline.
Australia has also deployed Australian Defence Force personnel to the United Kingdom to provide training to Ukrainian troops through Operation Interflex. We are currently providing an additional 30 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles to Ukraine, bringing the total number of gifted Bushmasters to 90.
I want to acknowledge the great battle that Ukraine is undertaking and acknowledge the support we have given both here and across Australia. It is a fight Ukraine must win and will win, and I salute you. Slava Ukrai
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