Kateryna Argyrou addresses public hearings in Australian Parliament

July 5,2024 248
Kateryna Argyrou addresses public hearings in Australian Parliament

Kateryna Argyrou, Co-Chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO), spoke at public hearings of Australia’s Senate Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee. 

In her speech, Argyrou explained the importance of whole-of- government coordination for support for Ukraine; how the private sector can be leveraged; the urgent need to resolve visa issues for displaced Ukrainians, who are currently on soon-to-expire temporary three year visas and have no dedicated pathways to permanent residency; and the Government’s role in countering Russian disinformation and propaganda.

The enormous breadth of Ukraine’s needs — for offensive capabilities, for shells, for defensive and protective equipment, for coal, for medivac channels — make coordination, consistency and strategy absolutely essential. While greatly appreciated, Australia’s efforts across the humanitarian, military, diplomatic and legal spheres, appear to many in our community to be siloed and sporadic,” she emphasized.

While statements like ‘Australia stands with Ukraine‘ and will do so ‘for as long as it takes‘ are reassuring, the community seeks an end to Russia’s war against Ukraine as soon as possible. Ukrainians do not want a prolonged conflict that could engulf the country for years; this can only be prevented through a thoughtful, proactive, and ambitious strategy for Ukraine’s victory, in which Australia must play a role commensurate with our size, status, and ambitions in the world, said AFUO’s Co-Chair.

On the 17th of July, our community — along with all Australians — will mark ten years since commercial passenger flight MH-17 was shot down by Russian-backed separatists over Ukraine. Russia was emboldened by the weak international response to their occupation of Crimea, which set the stage for the deadly and traumatic period Ukraine is now navigating. I’m optimistic for Ukraine’s free future, but to get there I believe Australia must start playing a bigger role, commensurate with our size, stature and ambitions for the world, to help defeat Russia and secure a lasting peace,” Argyrou concluded.

Earlier, Kateryna Argyrou discussed the importance of remaining Ukrainian abroad, Australia’s assistance, and the community’s future plans in an interview for the Ukrainian World Congress.

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