On Friday, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that he will attend “an important” NATO summit in Madrid at the end of the month, as the US-led alliance seeks to improve relations in the aftermath of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.
Australia has been giving aid and defense equipment to Ukraine and has restricted the sale of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia, making it one of the greatest non-NATO contributors to the West’s support for the country.
“As a priority, I’m traveling to NATO… to help the people of Ukraine in their fight against Russia’s thuggish unlawful behavior,” Albanese said on Friday.
NATO leaders will meet in Madrid on June 29-30 to discuss long-term reform of the alliance, despite disputes over force numbers and deployments.
NATO has increased its presence in the Baltics in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation.”
Albanese, who has only been in office for a month, refused to acknowledge claims that he had received an invitation to visit Kyiv from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
According to the media, Zelenskiy sent the invitation in a letter to Prime Minister Albanese congratulating him on his election victory.
Russia barred 121 Australian citizens from entering the country on Thursday, accusing them of pursuing a “Russophobic campaign.”
Hundreds of Russian persons and businesses have been sanctioned, including the majority of the country’s banking industry and all authorities responsible for the country’s sovereign debt.