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Ukraine country brief

Key engagement

Australia is a consistent supporter of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Australian Embassy in Ukraine formally opened in November 2014.

Bilateral relations

Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union on 24 August 1991, and diplomatic relations between Australia and Ukraine were formally established on 26 December 1991. The Embassy of Ukraine in Australia was established in April 2003. Australia had non-resident representation to Ukraine until 2014 when an Embassy opened in Kyiv.

Australia's bilateral relations with Ukraine have deepened substantially in recent years, engaging on issues of mutual interest in multilateral forums. Ukraine are partners in the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and the Global Coalition Against Daesh.

In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. The UN General Assembly passed a resolution on the Territorial Integrity of Ukraine on 27 March 2014, emphasising that Russia's de facto annexation had no validity under international law. Russia also supports separatist forces in occupied parts of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Tensions continue in eastern Ukraine, with a recent (November 2018) escalation in the Sea of Azov/Kerch Strait. Australia condemns Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and fully supports Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Australia maintains robust autonomous sanctions relating to threats against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

On 17 July 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 individuals on board, including 38 people who called Australia home. A technical investigation into the downing, led by the Dutch Safety Board, concluded that flight MH17 had been downed by a Buk surface-to-air missile. An international criminal investigation, conducted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, continues to gather evidence for use in a future Dutch criminal prosecution of the individuals responsible. Following the release of the JIT's additional findings in May 2018, Australia and the Netherlands notified Russia they held it responsible for its role in the downing of flight MH17 and requested that it enter into negotiations.

Foreign policy

Ukraine's foreign policy priorities include building multilateral support through the UN, NATO, and OSCE, as well as greater integration with Europe.

Entry into force of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement on 1 September 2017 and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) on 1 January 2016 open further opportunities for Ukraine to increase and diversify its trade within Europe.

Further details are available at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

Australia's foreign policy is guided by the Foreign Policy White Paper.

Fast Facts

  • Ukrainian visitors to Australia (year ending Sep 2018) – 3,500
  • Australian visitors to Ukraine (year ending Sep 2018) – 3,900
  • Resident Australian population born in Ukraine (2016 census) – 13,366
  • Australian residents of Ukrainian descent (2016 census) – 46,186
  • Ukrainian students in Australia (2018) – 195

Australian Embassy in Ukraine

13A Kostelna Street
Kyiv 01901, Ukraine
Telephone + 380 44 290 6400
Twitter: @AUinUA


See Smartraveller for Information on travelling to Ukraine

Economic diplomacy

Australia's trade relationship with Ukraine is modest. Merchandise exports from Australia were valued at $29.8 million in 2017–18 and consisted mainly of coal. In the same period, Australia imported $47.3 million worth of products from Ukraine, mainly vegetable oils and fats. Australia invested $49 million in Ukraine in 2017.

On 1 April 2016, Australia and Ukraine signed a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, which would enable Australia to export uranium to Ukraine – one of the world's top ten generators of nuclear power. This agreement entered into force in June 2017. The Agreement will allow Australia to help Ukraine diversify its energy supply, and will enhance bilateral cooperation between Australia and Ukraine on nuclear-related activities, including nuclear safeguards, security, safety and science.

Further economic and trade information can be found in the Ukraine Country Fact Sheet.

Agreements with Ukraine

  • 2017 – Agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy
  • 1999 – Agreement on trade and economic cooperation

Public diplomacy

The Australian Embassy in Ukraine:

  • The Embassy regularly promotes Australian culture, music and photography, including Indigenous art, in Ukraine, with an emphasis on regional audiences.
  • In 2018 the Embassy participated in events to celebrate Ukraine's team travelling to Sydney for the Invictus Games.

High level engagement

  • 2018 – Vice Prime Minister Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak, Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov visited Australia
  • 2017 –President of the Senate, Stephen Parry visited Ukraine
  • 2014 – President Poroshenko visited Australia
  • 2014 – Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visited Ukraine
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