Australia’s Ambassador with responsibility for Ukraine, Her Excellency Jean Dunn, today arrived in Kyiv and met with the President of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO), Mr Stefan Romaniw OAM.
The Ambassador, who is based in the Australian Embassy in Warsaw, will also be meeting with fellow diplomatic representatives in Ukraine tomorrow to obtain a better understanding of the situation. Edward Mortimer Second Secretary of the Embassy also participated in the meeting.
At their meeting, Mr Romaniw provided the Ambassador with his eyewitness account of events since the 21 November when the first Euromaidan was formed in response to the Yanukovych Government’s decision to postpone talks on signing the accord to enter the European Union.
The situation was aggravated by the thuggery and beating of students by Berkut on the night of 29-30 November. The Euromaidan has also grown in stature in response to the possibility of President Yanukovych signing an accord with the Russian Federation on Tuesday 17 December.
Mr Romaniw also provided background on the Euromaidan organising committee and his meetings with the Opposition and community based representatives. He also informed the Ambassador of his visit to the ‘Anti Maidan’ organised by the Party of Regions and the conversations he had with members of this opposing Maidan and their promotion of a pro-Putin position.
Mr Romaniw extended thanks to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, for issuing a statement in support of Ukraine’s right for self-determination in moving towards Europe and condemning the violence exercised by the Berkut.
Mr Romaniw called on the Australian Government to join with its allies in considering sanctions against the Presidential regime to include:
Making the President a persona non grata until all issues are resolved;
Undertaking a forensic audit of funds invested in Australia by senior Government officials, their family trusts, and their oligarch allies;
Freezing any assets held in Australia, by senior Government officials, their family trusts, and by oligarchs who financially cooperate with the Presidential regime.
Issues of representation in Ukraine, trade and exchanges were also discussed.
According to Mr Romaniw, Ambassador Dunn showed strong commitment to ensuring the Australian Government receives firsthand advice on not only the Euromaidan, but other issues relating to Australian Ukraine affairs
The AFUO wishes her well in her role as the Australian representative in the region and with responsibility for Ukraine.