Ukraine community farewells SA-based soldiers

Soldiers from the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR), 2nd Health Brigade and Land Combat College were farewelled in a ceremony at Defence Precinct Edinburgh, Adelaide, as they prepared to deploy on Operation Kudu in the United Kingdom.

CAPTIONDeploying soldiers from 7RAR on parade during their Operation Kudu farewell ceremony at Edinburgh Defence Precinct, Adelaide. Story and photos by Captain Peter March.

The 90-strong contingent will continue Australia’s assistance in training the Armed Forces of Ukraine in response to sustained Russian aggression.

Alongside family, friends and local and federal politicians, members of South Australia’s Ukrainian community participated in the proceedings on 8 January, which included a Ukrainian Orthodox blessing and traditional Ukrainian customs.

Acting Defence Minister Matt Thistlethwaite said Australians were proud of the troops who heading to the UK because they were standing up in the defence of the Ukrainian people and helping with the assistance of the training of Ukrainian soldiers.

“They’re standing up to Russia’s illegal act of aggression and illegal invasion of Ukraine and, most importantly, they’re standing up to the important principles of freedom of liberty,” Mr Thistlethwaite said.

President of the Association of Ukrainians in South Australia Frank Fursenko stressed the importance of the strong ties that exist between theAustralia and Ukraine.

“This war has had a devastating impact,” Mr Fursenko said.

“Without Australia’s support, Ukraine would be in a very difficult situation.”

This deployment is the fifth rotation of Australian troops, and the first from 7RAR, to participate in the UK-led multinational training mission.

Focusing on basic infantry tactics, leadership and small-team training, contingent commander Major Michael Jack said he was ready to lead his soldiers.

“7RAR soldiers are physically and mentally tough, professional, compassionate and courageous,” he said.

“We take immense pride and humility in being able to be a small part in these people’s lives.”

Commander 9th Brigade Brigadier Tim Orders reminded the troops of the significance of the task ahead.

“Your presence signifies hope and solidarity in a time of need,” Brigadier Orders said.

“Your efforts will not only strengthen our coalition’s resolve, but uphold the values of democracy and peace throughout the world.”

CAPTIONMembers of the Ukrainian community in South Australia sing a traditional song during the farewell ceremony for the fifth rotation of Operation Kudu.


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