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Albanese invited to visit Ukraine

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he is weighing up visiting Ukraine later this month after an invitation by the country's president.

Albanese said he was taking "appropriate advice" about a possible visit to the Ukraine capital Kyiv after he travels to Europe for the June 29-30 NATO summit.

"I will take appropriate advice and obviously there are security issues as well in terms of such a visit. I appreciate the spirit in which it has been offered," he said on Friday.

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The prime minister will attend the summit in Madrid in a show of support for the security alliance by nations in the Asia Pacific.

"One of the reasons why Australia has been invited to NATO is that Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to give support to Ukraine in its defence of its national sovereignty against Russia's illegal, immoral invasion and we will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine," Albanese said.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian embassy in Canberra confirmed to 9News that last month President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited Albanese to visit Kyiv in a letter congratulating him on the Labor federal election victory.

The Ukraine embassy spokesman said there were "special arrangements" in place for the safe journey of VIPs to the war-torn nation.

The prime minister's office has been contacted by 9News for comment.

On Thursday (Ukraine time) French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Premier Mario Draghi travelled to Ukraine on a special train from Poland.

Many in Ukraine hoped that the leaders' visit could mark a turning point by opening the way to significant new arms supplies and it also comes as EU leaders prepare to make a decision next week on Ukraine's request to become a candidate for membership in the bloc.

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Their visit came amid a new round of Western arms pledges for Ukraine as the war grinds on in the eastern Donbas region.

The US and its European allies have given billions of dollars in weaponry to Ukraine, and Germany and the US recently announced new arms shipments.

Such arms have been key to the country's surprising success in preventing the Russians from taking the capital, but officials in Kyiv have said much more will be needed if they are to drive Moscow's forces out.

– Reported with Associated Press



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