The Ukrainian Ambassador has warned other countries could be emboldened by a Russian victory, sparking fears about what that would mean for Australia.
Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko shared the grim warning with business leaders after giving a key note address hosted by the McKell Institute in Sydney on Friday.
While saying Ukraine was “extremely grateful” for the reinforcements provided by Australia, he urged the government to continue its support, cautioning that others could choose to take advantage of a Russian victory.
“What kind of price is Australia willing to pay to restore international order? Supporting Ukraine is part of that price because if is undermined, if it doesn‘t exist, it’s going to be a huge cost as we move on,” he said.
“Especially in this region [because] if any country can use force, military force, to coerce smaller countries to change their borders it will embolden different autocratic leaders to do the same thing.”
Australia has provided $790 million to Ukraine in monetary support as well as hundreds of Bush Master armoured vehicles and artillery.
Ambassador Myroshnychenko said that Australia had a “vested interest” in providing support to the war-torn country, and that not continuing that support could “hurt Australia in the long run”, appearing to allude to China’s strong interest in Australia’s backyard.
“What‘s important is that support can be forthcoming because that’s an investment into restoration of that international rules based system which is affecting all your neighbours, which is affecting the stability of the Indo-Pacific,” he said.
While Mr Myroschnychenko did not directly name China, recent years have seen Beijing ramp up its aggression and influence throughout Asia and the Pacific.
Fears that China could build its first military base in the Pacific were sparked in 2022 when it signed a security pact with Solomon Islands.
China has also become increasingly antagonistic in the South China Sea, a region it claims sovereignty over, constructing military outposts and intercepting U.S. military aircraft.
G7 leaders came together in May to state they had “serious concerns” about China’s maritime activities in the South China Sea and around the Pacific.
They called for a “free and open Indo Pacific”, calling out China’s “economic coercion” through trade sanctions, increased aid and development and security co-operation.