Australia news LIVE: Russia’s air strikes expand to Ukraine’s west; NSW floods cleanup continues

Australia news LIVE: Russia’s air strikes expand to Ukraine’s west; NSW floods cleanup continues

Key posts

  • Russian missile strikes near Polish border leave many dead, Ukraine says
  • NSW asked for troops five days before numbers were confirmed via media
  • PM faces heat on $20.8 billion fuel excise
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Russian missile strikes near Polish border leave many dead, Ukraine says

A Russian missile attack on a large Ukrainian military facility near the border with NATO member Poland on Sunday killed 35 people and wounded 134, according to a Ukrainian official.

Ukraine said foreign military instructors have previously worked at the base, but a NATO official said there were no personnel from the alliance at the base. It was not immediately clear whether any non-NATO states might have representatives there.

A patient is assisted by medical staff as he arrives at Novoiavorivsk District Hospital after a series of Russian missiles struck the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security at the nearby Yavoriv military complex.Credit:Getty

Regional governor Maksym Kozytskyy said Russian planes fired around 30 rockets at the Yavoriv International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security, adding that some were intercepted before they hit.

The facility, less than 25km from the Polish border, is one of Ukraine’s biggest and the largest in the western part of the country.

Read more here.

Reuters, AP

NSW asked for troops five days before numbers were confirmed via media

NSW made three formal requests for the Australian Defence Force to help in flood-ravaged Lismore but was offered fewer than 300 on the same day the federal government said it had 2000 ready to go if requested.

In a sign of escalating tensions between NSW and Canberra over the handling of the unprecedented flood crisis, the state government made its first request for assistance on February 27 before the full extent of the disaster hit.

Emergency Services Minister Bridget McKenzie.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

However, NSW did not receive any confirmation from the federal government about troop numbers and only heard about a promise of 2000 personnel via a journalist, who obtained a statement from the federal Emergency Services Minister Bridget McKenzie late on a Friday night on March 4.

Ms McKenzie’s’ statement said the troops were ready to go if states requested them.

Read the full story here.

PM faces heat on $20.8 billion fuel excise

A political row over the cost of living is building pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to cut some of the federal government’s $20.8 billion in petrol and diesel excise while the war in Ukraine drives up global oil prices and reshapes the federal election debate on household budgets.

A change to the excise is on the agenda in the internal debate over the March 29 budget alongside a tax plan designed to win back voters at the election due in May, with cabinet ministers canvassing measures to claim workers will be better off under the Coalition.

With petrol now costing about $2.20 per litre and tipped to rise to $2.50, the government faces calls for a temporary cut to the excise.Credit:Getty

But with petrol now costing about $2.20 per litre and tipped to rise to $2.50, the government faced calls from South Australian Premier Steven Marshall for a temporary cut to the excise after a “robust” argument in national cabinet last Friday over budget spending.

More on this issue here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Monday, March 14. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day. My colleague Sherryn Groch is keeping an eye on all things Ukraine.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started.

  • A Russian missile attack at a western Ukrainian military facility has killed 35 people and wounded more than 100, according to Ukraine. The Yavoriv military complex is less than 25km from the Polish border and is used as a training centre by NATO instructors. A NATO official says none of its personnel were present during the reported attack. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says if Russia wants to take the country’s capital, Kyiv, then it will have to “carpet bomb and simply erase the history of this region … and destroy all of us”.

Ukrainian medical staff assist patients from the Yavoriv military complex.Credit:Getty

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison is coming under pressure to ease petrol prices, which have broken the $2 mark. The government could slash its petrol and diesel excise to help drive prices down at the bowser (which have risen due to the war in Ukraine). However, there is a belief the federal government needs as much revenue as possible to rebuild the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The issue is set to be front and centre in the government’s budget discussions. The federal budget is due to be handed down later this month and the next election is due by the end of May.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressing the media on Saturday. Credit:Rhett Wyman

  • And speaking of the federal government, tensions are rising between Canberra and the NSW state government over the handling of the NSW floods. Alexandra Smith reports that NSW made three formal requests for the Australian Defence Force to help in the flood-ravaged town of Lismore, but was offered fewer than 300 troops on the same day the Morrison government said it had 2000 ready to go if requested.

ADF troops coordinating a clean-up with a local volunteer in Woodburn, NSW. Credit:Janie Barrett

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