Canberra [Australia], March 20 (ANI/Sputnik): Australia will be issuing temporary visas to Ukrainian refugees, allowing them to work in the country for three years, the Australian government said on Sunday.
"To help Ukrainians forced to flee from Russia's military invasion, we will also make available a temporary humanitarian visa to Ukrainians who have arrived in Australia," the Australian government said in a statement, released by the foreign ministry, adding that the visa "will be valid for three years and allow people to work, study and access Medicare."
According to the Australian government, the country has already issued nearly 4,500 visas to Ukrainians since the start of Russia's military operation .
"Over 600 Ukrainians with these visas have arrived and more are coming every day," the Australian government said, adding that it will continue to work "with the Ukrainian-Australian community to ensure those arriving from Ukraine will be provided support throughout their stay in Australia."
The Australian government has provided local community groups with a $450,000 (334,000 USD) grant to help assist Ukrainian refugees.
In the early hours of February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine after the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR) appealed for help in defending themselves against the Kyiv forces. Russia said that the aim of its special operation is to demilitarize and "denazify" Ukraine and that only military infrastructure is being targeted - the civilian population is not in danger. Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it has no plans to occupy Ukraine.
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the goal is to protect the people of Donbas, "who have been subjected to abuse, genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years."
The head of the Russian National Defense Control Center, Mikhail Mizintsev said on Saturday that there are over 2.7 million people in Ukraine who wish to evacuate to Russia. (ANI/Sputnik)