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Australian ‘larrikin’ providing humanitarian aid killed in Ukraine

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Anthony Albanese has described the death of an Australian man in Ukraine as a “tragedy”, saying he had been driving trucks to transport civilians and wounded.

Michael O’Neill, 47, was providing humanitarian aid when he was killed on Wednesday, leaving behind three children as well as five siblings.

“This is a tragedy and I want to give my condolences to the family of the man involved,” Anthony Albanese said in Sydney on Saturday.

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“The family has requested that their privacy be respected and I ask the media to do that.”

Michael O’Neill drove trucks in Tasmania’s mines before helping in Ukraine. Photo: Facebook

In a public post on Facebook, one of Mr O’Neill’s sisters said he had been driving trucks in Ukraine to help civilians flee the country as well as helping transport the wounded.

She described her brother as a “larrikin” and “always a battler”.

“Always looking for a cause he headed to Ukraine to drive trucks helping citizens flee the country.

“He then assisted driving the wounded and injured from the front line. Unfortunately meeting a sad end.

“Always a larrikin Mick had spent the last few years driving trucks in the mining industry and spending months in the Philippines with his children.”

Russia invaded Ukraine in February, with allegations of war crimes made against the federation’s troops since the invasion.

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During his trip to the Quad leaders’ meeting on Tuesday, Mr Albanese said he had expressed Australia’s view that the Russian “unilateral, illegal, immoral attack” on the people of Ukraine was an “outrage”.

“The atrocities which are being committed on innocent civilians is something that we couldn’t have expected in the 21st century,” he told reporters after the meeting.

Earlier this month, then-foreign minister Marise Payne announced further sanctions on high-profile Russians, including media personalities and military higher-ups.

-with AAP

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