Australia news LIVE: United States announces military support package for Ukraine as Russia’s attacks on Kyiv intensify; COVID cases grow in NSW, Victoria

Key posts

  • Russia rains fire on Kyiv as Zelensky pleads for US ‘to do more’
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
  • 1 of 1

Russia rains fire on Kyiv as Zelensky pleads for US ‘to do more’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has cited Pearl Harbor and the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 as part of an appeal for the US Congress to do more to help Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion.

During a livestreamed address to American politicians on Thursday (AEDT), Zelensky said: “We need you right now. I call on you to do more.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivering his virtual address to US Congress. Credit:AP

The representatives gave him a standing ovation, before and after his remarks. The speech comes as US President Joe Biden announces a $US800 million ($1.1 billion) military assistance package for Ukraine that will include anti-aircraft systems and drones.

It comes as Russian forces intensify their fighting in Kyiv suburbs. Russian troops are trying to cut off the capital from transport arteries and destroy logistical capabilities, according to Ukrainian authorities. Twelve towns around Kyiv are without water and six are without heating.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian President has acknowledged the no-fly zone he has sought to “close the sky” over his country may not happen.

Zelensky has repeatedly appealed for NATO to set up a no-fly zone given Russia’s air superiority, as civilian casualties mount three weeks into the war. But NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has ruled out any role for the military organisation in setting up and policing a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

AP, Reuters

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Thursday, March 17. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started.

  • The United States has unveiled a US$800 million ($1.1 billion) military assistance package for Ukraine to help the country fight off Russia’s invasion. The package will include American drones and anti-aircraft systems. However, the US has remained firm on its decision not to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine (something Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked for to help reduce air strikes, but something Russian President Vladimir Putin says would amount to a wider war with NATO countries).

United States President Joe Biden announcing an additional security assistance package for Ukraine on Thursday morning (AEDT).Credit:AP

  • In federal politics, the Morrison government is remaining firm on its position that income tax cuts, not a temporary reduction of the fuel and diesel excise, is the way to go when it comes to easing cost-of-living pressures. In contrast, Labor says the solution is raising wages. Both parties are remaining tight-lipped about whether the federal government’s petrol tax should be slashed as prices reach record highs. Meanwhile, the GST carve-up has come under the spotlight given growing inflation is set to deliver more than $2 billion a year in revenue to the states and territories.

Scott Morrison greeting members of the public in Perth yesterday. Credit:Getty

  • And in coronavirus news, Victoria and NSW are urging people to get their booster shots. In NSW, more than 330,000 over-60s are yet to have their third shot. In Victoria, experts are saying that face masks may be needed in some settings if cases continue to rise. And yesterday, New Zealand announced it would be opening its borders to vaccinated Australian tourists from the middle of next month.

NSW and Victorian health authorities are keeping a close eye on COVID-19 cases. Credit:Bianca De Marchi

  • 1 of 1

Most Viewed in National

Source: Read Full Article