The Australian government has announced that it will gift 20 Bushmaster military vehicles to Ukraine, with the first three leaving Australia on April 8.
"We are responding to President Zelensky's request for additional support. On top of military assistance and humanitarian aid Australia is already providing, we will be sending Bushmasters to help Ukrainians defend their nation. The first three are leaving today," Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said on Twitter on April 8.
Two of the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles will be fitted out as ambulance variants to aid Ukraine's response to Russia's invasion.
"The Bushmaster was built in Australia to provide protected mobility transport, safely moving soldiers to a battle area prior to dismounting for close combat," a joint statement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Dutton reads.
"The Bushmaster is well suited to provide protection to the Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers and Ukrainian civilians against mines and improvised explosive devices, shrapnel from artillery and small arms fire."
Thales Australia, which has been outfitting the military vehicles, said they were proud to support the Australian government's donation of the Bushmasters.
The 20 vehicles will be fitted with radio, GPS, and extra bolt-on armour for added protection. They have been painted olive green to suit the local environment in Ukraine and feature a Ukrainian flag painted on either side with the words "United with Ukraine" stencilled in English and Ukrainian.
The prime minister's and defence ministers' statement said this was "to acknowledge our commitment and support to the Government and people of Ukraine."
The ambulances will have the traditional Red Cross emblem.
Australia's Department of Defence will provide training videos with Ukrainian subtitles to show Ukrainian forces how to operate the Bushmasters. Defence will also work with the Ukraine government to develop a suitable logistics support package.
Meanwhile, Russia's foreign ministry has announced personal sanctions on 228 Australian parliamentarians, barring them from entry to the Russian Federation from April 7.
The statement warned that more sanctions were incoming, targeting Australian military, businessmen, experts and media people "who contribute to inciting a negative attitude towards our country."