A police officer covers the body of a victim of the Russian strike on a hardware store in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Saturday
A police officer covers the body of a victim of the Russian strike on a hardware store in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Saturday AFP

Despite Ukraine's requests for assistance in maintaining its electricity infrastructure, Australia has said it will not export coal to the war-torn country.

The envoy of Ukraine had asked for coal supplies in December and again this month, but military assistance remained Australia's priority.

Australia has taken a nuanced stance toward Ukraine's requests for coal. "The support that we are providing now is very much focused on military support around allowing Ukraine to prosecute this conflict with Russia and that is where our focus is and that is where Ukraine wants our focus to be," Richard Marles, the defense minister, told ABC.net.au.

"In all that we are doing we are looking at how our support can be sustainable and ongoing because we need to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes for Ukraine to resolve this conflict on its terms," Marles continued.

Australia's emphasis on long-term help contrasted Ukraine's need for coal immediately. According to reports, Ukrainian authorities made a direct request to Foreign Minister Penny Wong for a coal supply to alleviate the severe energy shortages brought on by Russian strikes, according to The Mandarin.

However, Marles said Australia was still committed to providing long-term, sustainable support. He underlined the need for continuing discussions to ascertain the most feasible means of aiding Ukraine. As winter drew near, this policy, which put long-term planning ahead of current necessities, was unsettling Ukraine.

Russia was reportedly targetting Ukraine's energy infrastructure. Till now, the former's attacks have caused Ukraine damage worth $1 billion.

Jennifer Parker, an expert associate at the National Security College of the Australian National University, contended that Australia has fallen in the international support rankings for Kyiv because, in contrast to many other nations, it has not presented a long-term, multi-year strategy.

She focused on the deteriorating circumstances in Ukraine, especially the rise in Russian strikes on the country's energy infrastructure from March 2024. Parker also expressed concern about Ukraine's capacity to withstand below-freezing temperatures and emphasized the severity of the situation, as winter was approaching.