Sky News – Russian Invasion of Ukraine



Subjects: Russia-Ukraine tensions

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Joining live now is the Labor MP Peter Khalil. Peter, I’ve got to start off with our lead story this morning and get your thoughts on it. The fact that Vladimir Putin – he’s making moves to redraw the lines, I suppose here, by outing the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine as independent. I suppose this sets the scene for a more permanent land grab in the way that he did to Crimea. What’s your thoughts on that this morning?

PETER KHALIL, MEMBER FOR WILLS: Yeah, morning, Peter. Look, it’s extremely disturbing and obviously I know Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister, in a speech – I think it might be in London – talked about the possibility of another “Iron Curtain” falling down over Europe. I actually think it’s a bit more nuanced than that. It’s really more of a tsunami, actually, of disruption by Russia. Wave after wave of digital disruption, of political interference, of fake news, and now the threat of war, and as you say, the potential for a land grab in those separatist areas in Eastern Ukraine. This is, I think, part of the big stress test on the liberal, rules-based order which we’ve been feeling for a number of years now, where authoritarian states are pushing the envelope, stretching hard, pushing back against democracies, and it really is the time for the West and democracies around the world to stand up, and that’s why I think it’s absolutely imperative that Australia provides support to Ukraine. I know there’s been some requests for that from the Ukrainian government, and I think – at least I say I would support that as an MP. My leadership as well, I won’t speak for them, but I think they’re provided their support – bipartisan support – for our efforts to assist Ukraine in this confrontation.

STEFANOVIC: So, you mean we are providing some support to Ukraine to be able to fend off Russian hackers – that was announced a couple of days ago. You think it should be more than that?

KHALIL: Yeah, look, I understand that the Ukrainian government has asked for some non-lethal equipment, so body armour, uniforms, sort of medical kind of equipment and things like that to support the armed forces. I think that is being considered by the government. As I said, I would support that as well. I won’t speak for my leadership, but I’m sure we would support that kind of assistance because we need to do everything we can to support countries that are under threat by these authoritarian regimes.

STEFANOVIC: Peter, we’ll keep it short and brief today. I know you’ve got to go but thanks for sticking around, we’ll talk to you again soon. Good points, though – put that to the Treasurer in a short while.