Kyiv, Ukraine attack: Deputy PM Richard Marles condemns Russian strikes

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles has condemned the “appalling” attack on Kyiv that is believed to have killed at least 10 people and injured dozens of others.

Mr Marles confirmed the federal government was working with the Ukrainian government to iron out the details of another support package after the apparent Russian revenge strikes.

The Ukrainian capital and other cities were rocked by massive explosions on Monday morning after the bridge linking Russia and Crimea was blown up over the weekend.

President Vladimir Putin declared the explosion on the Kerch bridge to be a terrorist attack and reportedly retaliated with the most intense strikes to hit Kyiv since the start of the war.

Explosions were also reported in Dnipro in central Ukraine and Lviv, Ternopil and Zhytomyr in the country’s west.

Mr Marles said he was with the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, when the news broke.

“The sense of heartbreak was really palpable and I think what it says is what we’ve known, which is that this is a conflict which is going to be protracted,” Mr Marles told Sky News.

“I mean, they’ve obviously been launched with a complete indifference to civilian casualties and it would appear that there have been civilian casualties.”

Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun took shelter with her son in an underground station in Kyiv when Russian missiles struck the city on Monday morning.

She told ABC Radio the mood was “very calm and resilient” compared with the terror Ukrainians felt in the early days of the conflict.

“People didn’t even look stressed – that is something that amazed me. No one was crying or looking terrified,” she said.

“We realise that fear does not solve the problem. Fury does; helping the army does; talking to international partners about why we need more aid in our system … that does help.”

Mr Marles said the attack reiterated the need to support Ukraine “over the long term” to put the eastern European nation “in a position where they can actually resolve this conflict on their own terms”.

One option on the table is that Australia follows the UK lead in sending military personnel to Ukraine to train new recruits there.

Mr Marles said he wanted to “emphasise” that Ukrainians felt an “enormous sense of gratitude” to all Australians for the support that had been provided to their country.

Australia has committed $388m in military assistance and $65m in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded its smaller neighbour on February 24.

Ukraine has requested another 30 Bushmasters on top of the 60 Australia has already committed to sending.

The Australian government is yet to confirm if it will meet the request for the additional armoured vehicles, which are manufactured in Victoria.

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