Ukrainian military officers could be trained in Australia to improve their leadership skills, Defence Force Chief Mark Binskin says.
He’s told News Corp Australia that Royal Australian Air Force jets are also ready to fly to the Middle East if the Abbott government decides Australia should play a combat role in defeating Islamic State militants.
His comments come as Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister David Johnston attend a NATO leaders’ summit in Wales working on global strategies to deal with the crises in Ukraine and in Iraq.
Air Chief Marshal Binskin said that in training members of the Ukrainian armed forces, the goal would be to build up their professionalism and capacity.
“We can do professional training for some of their people, in areas such as logistics, and the majority of it will be back here, in Australia,” he said.
Some Ukrainian officers would attend the Australian Defence Force’s Command and Staff College, Air Chief Marshal Binskin told News Corp.
The Ukrainian military has been battling to contain Kremlin-backed rebel fighters in the country’s east.
Air Chief Marshal Binskin said if the government decided on a combat role in defeating Islamic State militants then either the RAAF’s large fleet of older “classic” Hornet fighter bombers or its 24 Super Hornets could operate in Iraq.
“If the government makes the decision to send fast jets, any of our Hornet squadrons could do the job,” he said.
“You can sit around and talk about this but the fact is there is a threat there, and it’s a threat that’s growing and it’s a threat that needs to be contained,” Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.