A surrogate gave birth to the couple’s daughters six weeks ago
The woman fell pregnant in November, before COVID-19
The couple have been separated from their young sons since July
The pair travelled to Kiev in July for the birth of their twin daughters, who were carried by a surrogate who became pregnant in November before COVID-19 hit.
Mr Dix said Australia’s international flight cap was blocking them from returning home, with airlines saying they could not get the family a flight to Australia any time before December.
“We really need to see if they can get the flight caps adjusted, changed, lifted, so we can start getting some Australians home and back onto home soil so they can be reunited with their families,” he said.
Ms Dix said she felt “abandoned” by the Federal Government.
“What country leaves their people in these situations, you know we’re Australian, I always thought that meant mateship and compassion and empathy?” she said.
The Dix’s sons, Arlo and Beau, aged two and five, have been living with their grandparents in Perth for months.
‘There’s a lot of anxiety’
Grandmother Shirley Dix said she was “absolutely exhausted” and worried about the children’s mental health.
“They go through stages, there’s a lot of anxiety, I see it in the five-year-old, he always asks when he’s going home,” she said.
“The little one is of the greatest concern, in the mornings when I go to pick him up … he just says go away granny, I want mummy.
The Dix’s had their daughters, Starla and Odessa, via surrogacy after Candice Dix almost died giving birth to Arlo.
She said doctors had to remove her uterus to save her life.
“So I couldn’t have any more children and that hit me really hard, so I ended up going and seeing a psychologist and in the end landed down the path of surrogacy because I still had my eggs,” she said.
Ms Dix said she was desperate to return home to look after her sons.
“You know when I look at them they feel abandoned and that makes me feel really guilty as a parent, you know that I can’t get there to make them feel better,” she said.
“Our two-year-old really doesn’t understand why we’re here and often he’ll get upset and cry if he sees us, especially if he sees the babies, he really doesn’t understand this.
“It’s just not a natural process at all.”
When asked to comment on the Dix’s case the Prime Minister’s office referred the ABC to statements Scott Morrison made after a national cabinet meeting last week, in which he said state premiers had agreed more Australians needed to be able to come home.
“We noted that New South Wales has been doing all the heavy lifting on this, and they really are at their capacity for the time being,” Mr Morrison said.
“And so, as I discussed with Cabinet during the course of this week, the Transport Minister will be working with others to see if we can get flights that currently all seek to come to Sydney, to see if we’re in a position to try and get them to go into other ports, whether that be in Perth, in Adelaide, in Darwin, the ACT, or elsewhere, even Tasmania.
“Almost 4,000 Australians are coming home every week, but we know there are many more who are trying to get home, and further support has been provided to DFAT to assist those Australians, particularly in hardship, overseas.”
One of Belarus’s most prominent opposition leaders, Maria Kolesnikova, has been detained by state security at the border between Belarus and Ukraine almost 24 hours after she was abducted from the centre of Minsk by masked men.
According to news agency Interfax Ukraine, Ms Kolesnikova ripped up her passport to prevent herself from being forcibly ejected from the country.
Two of her team members, who also went missing on Monday – opposition co-ordination council spokesman Anton Rodnenkov and executive secretary Ivan Kravtsov – did cross over into Ukraine, the country’s border service said.
In a Facebook post, Ukraine’s deputy interior minister, Anton Gerashchenko, said it was not a voluntary trip but a “violent discharge from their native country with the aim of compromising the opposition”.
The aim of the Belarusian authorities, Mr Gerashchenko said, was to “present everything as though opposition leaders throw hundreds of thousands of protesters into the hands of the Lukashenko regime and then flee to cozy Ukraine”.
President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been dubbed Europe’s last dictator, won more than 80% of the vote, according to officials.
But opponents claim the ballot was rigged to disguise his loss of public support. He has been in power since 1994.
Another opposition politician, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was forced to flee to Lithuania after running against President Alexander Lukashenko in the disputed elections, demanded Ms Kolesnikova’s immediate release.
“You can’t keep people hostage,” she said in a statement, adding: “(By) abducting people in broad daylight, Lukashenko demonstrates his own weakness and inadequacy.”
She also called for the release of all political prisoners.
Ms Tikhanovskaya’s husband, Sergei Tikhanovsky, was jailed shortly before the presidential elections in which he had hoped to run.
Ms Kolesnikova worked as the campaign manager for a jailed candidate, Viktor Babariko, until she decided to campaign behind Ms Tikhanovskaya on his behalf.
Ms Kolesnikova was apparently abducted on Monday morning. An eyewitness told the Tut.by news website she saw her being bundled into the back of a black van at around 10am near the National Art Museum.
President Lukashenko was cited on Russian news agencies as saying Ms Kolesnikova had been detained for violating border controls.
Roman Babayan, editor in chief of the Govorit Moskva radio station, who spoke to him in Minsk, wrote on Telegram that Mr Lukashenko admitted he “may have overstayed as president a bit”, but could not leave immediately.
“I’ve been building up Belarus for a quarter of a century,” Mr Babayan cited Mr Lukashenko as saying. “I won’t give all that up just like that. Besides, if I go, my supporters will be massacred.”
President Lukashenko is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in the coming days.
Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said today he did not believe there were any political prisoners in Belarus, but that he hoped the situation around Ms Kolesnikova would be cleared up.
There are conflicting reports about the opposition figure’s whereabouts. As yet officials have not confirmed what has happened to her, and it is unclear exactly what happened at the border crossing.
A Belarus border official reportedly said Ms Kolesnikova was detained at the Ukrainian border early on Tuesday. Two other opposition members, Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov, crossed the border.
The three were in a BMW, the official said. At the crossing, the car “accelerated sharply”, and Ms Kolesnikova “found herself outside the vehicle”. The official said she was “pushed out of it” and it continued to move towards Ukraine. She is now in detention, he added.
Ukraine has confirmed that only the two men had arrived. Anton Geraschenko, Ukraine’s deputy internal affairs minister, described the two men’s departure as “forcible expulsion”.
“Maria Kolesnikova could not be expelled from Belarus, because this brave woman took action to prevent her movement across the border,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “She remained on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.”
She is reported to have torn up her passport at the border so she could not enter Ukraine, according to Interfax-Ukraine news agency which is citing “informed sources”.
On Monday, eyewitnesses saw masked men seize Ms Kolesnikova on the street in central Belarus and push her into a minibus.
The Co-ordination Council – a body set up by the opposition to oversee a transfer of power after the disputed election – later said it had no idea of her whereabouts. It added that press secretary Mr Rodnenkov and executive secretary Mr Kravtsov had also disappeared.
The interior ministry said it had no information about any of the council members being detained.
Who are the three women?
Ms Kolesnikova is the last of the three women who joined forces against Mr Lukashenko to remain inside Belarus.
She was initially the campaign manager for presidential candidate Viktor Barbaryko before his arrest in June, when she decided to work with Veronika Tsepkalo and Svetlana Tikhanovskaya,
Ms Tikhanovskaya stood against Mr Lukashenko in the election on 9 August. She only decided to run after her husband was arrested and barred from standing, and is now in Lithuania after she was forced to leave Belarus following the vote.
Ms Tsepkalo has travelled to Poland with her husband Valery and children. Mr Tsepkalo, the former ambassador to the US for Belarus, was also barred from standing against President Lukashenko.
Another female activist, Olga Kovalkova, announced on Saturday she had fled to Poland amid threats of imprisonment.
“I’m the only one of the three of us who is still here,” Ms Kolesnikova told BBC Russian in an interview last month. “To understand exactly what’s going on, you really have to be here.”
Ms Kolesnikova described the recent demonstrations as “not a struggle for power” but “a struggle for human dignity and self-respect”. She said she and her team had decided against using bodyguards.
“No number of guards would be of any use if a bus full of riot police stopped us,” she said. “We all know what a police state is capable of.”
Turkey will send its military men to participate in Cooperative Best Effort 2020 military exercises in Ukraine.
The presidents of the two countries discussed this issue, having touched upon the prospect of signing the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the defense sphere by the end of the year.
According to the press service of the Ukrainian president, the conversation was long. The parties discussed issues of economic cooperation, in particular, projects for the construction of roads in Ukraine, as well as the creation of a township for settlers from the Crimea in the Kherson region.
Cooperative Best Effort 2020 exercise comes as a response to Caucasus 2020 military exercise in the Crimea. Ukraine has already released a statement saying that the Russian exercise “will develop into aggression.”
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Andrei Taran assured that everything is quiet on the peninsula. The Defense Ministry also noted that they wanted to use the exercises “to test the ability of the General Staff in the new structure to act in accordance with NATO standards, to arrange interaction with command posts of the Armed Forces of NATO.”
Up to 120,000 troops, as well as about 300 aircraft, 250 helicopters, 50 ships, 3,000 armored vehicles are to take part in the exercises.
After the exercises, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskiy may go to Turkey. For Kiev, this visit is important for the reason that Zelensky’s team intends to create an international platform “for the de-occupation of the Crimea,” which can hardly be possible without Turkey’s participation.
Turkey’s explosive success in the beginning of the 21st century (and above all, in the economy) was made possible owing to the efforts of its perhaps most pro-Western and pro-liberal government that Turkey has seen in its history.
In the first half of the AKP rule (Justice and Development Party), Turkey was an integral part of the greater West, the “Islamic democratic model” for the entire Middle East – with the Kurdish “opening,” restriction of the army influence, pro-European reforms, etc.
The ideal “Islamic Europe” attractive to both the West and the Islamic world.
Actually, Kiev does not care – it is working diligently to attract Europe to its problems. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, after a recent meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, noted that the Crimea would always be on the agenda.
Ukraine wants to keep the issue of the Crimea as a priority for the West, ensuring the policy of non-recognition of the Crimea and the policy of sanctions against Russia. Therefore, Ukraine needs players from the EU, the US and the UK.
Earlier it was reported that Ukraine wanted to obtain the status of the observer in the Turkic Council, which incorporates Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, in order to use the organization as a platform for voicing the problem.
Nevertheless, Zelensky stressed in an interview with Euronews that one should have addressed the issue earlier.
“We should not have given the Crimea away. This is a big problem. Today, however, we can no longer punch the air while talking about it. I am sure that one day everyone will be responsible for this.”
In the meantime, Ukraine will cry for help to everyone who is not tired of listening to these cries. This could also be a technique, a useless one, though.
French president says he enlisted Vladimir Putin’s help in convincing Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to accept mediatio.
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron wants to avoid a repeat in Belarus of what happened in Ukraine, he said on Friday.
He warned against Russian armed involvement in Belarus and said he had enlisted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s help in convincing Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to accept mediation from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Lukashenko has been clinging onto power since an August 9 election. Lukashenko, who has been president since 1994, claimed he won 80 percent of the vote, causing Belarusians to hold mass protests that were violently suppressed by security forces. Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya officially won 10 percent of the vote, but her backers say that in reality, she beat Lukashenko.
“What President Putin told me and Chancellor [Angela] Merkel is that he is favorable for an OSCE mediation but it was Lukaskenko who didn’t, so he has an effort to make there, and we don’t want a repeat of what happened in Ukraine,” Macron said.
Alongside the desire to engage Russia on a diplomatic solution, Macron also had a warning.
“I told President Putin, I consider all foreign intervention in Belarus, starting with an intervention of Russian forces, be they military or internal security, would evidently be an intervention outside the national Belarusian framework and would internationalize and regionalize the issue. So I think this intervention would be badly seen.”
The black boxes recovered from a Ukrainian airliner mistakenly downed in Tehran has shown the two pilots were alive after the first two missiles hit, officials said Sunday.
The Ukraine International Airlines passenger jet, crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran”s main airport on January 8, killing all 176 people on board.
Iran admitted days later that its forces accidentally shot down the Kyiv-bound Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
Iran’s air defences had been on high alert at the time. It was concerned the US would retaliate against Iranian strikes hours earlier on American troops stationed in Iraq.
The head of Iran’s civil aviation authority Touraj Dehghani Zanganeh said that the cockpit voice recorder registered a conversation between the pilot, co-pilot and an instructor between the two blasts.
“Up to 19 seconds after the first missile exploded in the vicinity of the aircraft, (they) noticed abnormal conditions and were in control of the aircraft until the last moment,” he said, quoted by state television’s website.
“The instructor indicates that the aircraft has an electronic problem and the auxiliary power has been activated,” he said.
“The pilots were notified that both engines of the aircraft were on.”
He said the black boxes stopped working 19 seconds after the first explosion, making it impossible to retrieve data on the impact of the second missile.
Iran, which has no means of decoding the black boxes, sent them to France for analysis.
A man armed with explosives is holding around 20 people hostage on a bus after complaining about ‘Ukraine’s system’ in a series of posts online.
Police sealed off the centre of Lutsk, a city 250 miles west of Kiev, earlier today and one photograph showed officers laying on the ground using a car for shelter as they worked to rescue the victims.
The assailant is armed and carrying explosives, officers said in a Facebook statement.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the assailant took control of the bus at 9.25am local time (7.25am GMT).
A statement from the attacker claimed: ‘There are a lot of people with me – machine guns, grenades, two bombs.’ He claimed to have an accomplice ‘in a crowded area of the city’.
Scroll down for video.
Police sealed off the centre of Lutsk, a city 250 miles west of Kiev, earlier today. Pictured, Ukranian law enforcement officers lie on the ground behind a car near the bus
Police officers gather supplies as they head towards the bus where 20 people have been taken hostage by an armed man
The assailant is armed and carrying explosives, officers said in a Facebook statement. Pictured, the man who is believed to be responsible for the hostage situation
‘The man put forward his demands to law enforcers,’ said police. ‘Negotiations with him are underway. He is being talked to over the phone.’
His demands appeared absurd, calling on senior Ukrainian officials to post videos saying they are ‘terrorist in laws’.
He demanded Ukrainian president Zelensky urge people to watch the 2005 movie Earthlings.
Bystanders have started to gather as police officers blocked off the road leading to the bus
Nicknamed Maxim Bad, the assailant has posted online: ‘What is freedom? Heaven. How to get there? Be a criminal.’ Pictured, the bus, left, and officers crawling behind a car, right
A tank parked up at the scene to block the road following the seizure of the passenger bus
The film chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.
What were the hostage-taker’s bizarre demands?
During negotiations with officers on Tuesday morning the hostage-taker demanded:
Senior Ukrainian officials post videos saying they are ‘terrorist in laws’.
Ukrainian president Zelensky urge people to watch the 2005 movie Earthlings which chronicles the practices of international industries.
Nicknamed Maxim Bad, he has posted online: ‘What is freedom? Heaven. How to get there? Be a criminal.’
He previously wrote a book entitled ‘Philosophy of a criminal’.
‘My death is not an obstacle for the explosions,’ he said. ‘The state has always been and is the first terrorist.’
‘Gunshots have been heard, the bus is damaged,’ Zelensky said in a Facebook statement, adding that measures are being taken to resolve the situation without casualties.
He wrote: ‘Alarming news from Lutsk. In the morning, at 9.25, a citizen who informed that he had seized a bus with hostages.
‘Currently, the police operation “hostage” has been introduced, and the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) has introduced the Boomerang plan.
‘It is done to make the situation settled without victims. Holding the progress of events under personal control.’
Bullet holes can be seen in the side of a white bus with blue stripes. Three of the windows are shattered.
Authorities have identified the man and said that he expressed frustration with ‘Ukraine’s system’ on his social media pages.
Armed officers stand outside a police van. The bus where the hostages are being held can be seen behind
Police tape surrounds the scene as people gather to watch the intense operation unfold
Authorities have identified the man and said that he expressed frustration with ‘Ukraine’s system’ on his social media pages. Pictured, the police cordon
Ukrainian media reported that gunshots could be heard at the scene. It was not immediately clear whether anyone has been injured.
One terrified woman called her friend from the bus saying the attacker had explosives.
Law enforcement surrounded the bus in Lutsk and cordoned off the city. Shots were heard at the scene but there was no immediate information about casualties.
The anti-terrorist unit of Ukraine’s Special Security Service is at the scene.
Ottawa (AFP) – Iran has said it will “soon” send France the black boxes of a Ukrainian jetliner its forces mistakenly shot down in January, Canada’s prime minister said Tuesday.
“The black boxes are supposed to be sent to France soon,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a daily briefing, adding that the coronavirus pandemic had delayed the handover.
“We’re going to continue to put pressure on the Iranian regime alongside our international partners to get answers, to get justice, to get compensation for the families,” he added.
The prime minister said he raised the analysis of the black boxes in a telephone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky “a couple of days ago.”
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was struck by two missiles and crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s airport on January 8.
The Islamic republic admitted days later that its forces accidentally shot down the Kiev-bound jetliner, killing all 176 people on board.
Tehran’s air defenses had been on high alert at the time in case the US retaliated against Iranian strikes hours earlier on American troops stationed in Iraq.
Those strikes were carried out in response to the killing of a top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani, in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport.
The black boxes are expected to contain information about the last moments before the aircraft was struck.
Many of those on board the downed airliner were Canadian, and Ottawa has demanded for months that Iran, which does not have the technical means to decode the black boxes, send the items abroad so that their content can be analyzed.
On Monday, Iran said the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen most international flights canceled, had slowed its plans to send the black boxes overseas.
“From the first days of this painful incident, we announced our readiness to cooperate in investigating the black boxes of the Ukrainian plane,” Iran government spokesman Ali Rabiei said.
He said they would be sent to either Ukraine or France to be read, adding: “We will resume this process with the gradual resumption of international flights and the clarification of the results of the negotiations” between Iran and others involved in the process.
The International Monetary Fund has approved a $5 billion aid package for Ukraine aimed at helping the country “to cope with COVID-19 pandemic challenges,” with an immediate release of $2.1 billion, the institution announced in a statement on Tuesday.
The new 18-month program is geared towards “providing balance of payments and budget support, while safeguarding achievements to date and advancing a small set of key structural reforms, to ensure that Ukraine is well-poised to return to growth when the crisis ends,” the Fund said in a statement published on its website.
The program was agreed in principle on May 21 but has now received the green light from the body’s board of directors.
The Washington-based institution said Ukraine’s track record in stabilizing the economy over the last five years has been “strong.”
“However, more reforms efforts are needed to ensure robust and inclusive growth,” it added in the statement.
The COVID-19 outbreak has “significantly worsened” the country’s outlook, it said, forcing authorities to focus primarily on virus containment measures.
“Uncertainty is large, and the economy is projected to contract sharply in 2020 as strict containment measures — in Ukraine and globally — led to sizable falls in domestic and external demand,” the IMF warned.
The 2020 budget is “expected to be hit hard, with a sharp decline in revenues and large emergency spending needs to address the crisis,” it continued.
The agreement was reached under what the Fund calls a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), the technical term for one of the financing instruments most commonly used by the Fund, usually in exchange for a reform program.
It succeeds the previous 14-month $3.9 billion program approved in December 2018 to maintain stability during the election year, the Fund said.
At the end of March, the Ukrainian parliament lifted a long-standing ban on the sale of farmland, a crucial and controversial piece of legislation needed to unlock support from the IMF.
In May, Kiev also adopted a law targeting owners of banks that go bankrupt, preventing them from regaining their assets.
Under the previous plan, Ukraine, one of the poorest countries in Europe, received a single payment of $1.4 billion due to insufficient reforms and corruption.
Separately Tuesday the IMF approved $363.6 million in emergency aid for Papua New Guinea, for use in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The support “provides resources to the authorities to maintain macroeconomic stability with the aim of assisting the private sector adversely affected by COVID-19,” the IMF said.
The Fund said it welcomed measures the country had taken to support businesses, workers and households.
However due to export losses and the cost of measures put in place to mitigate spread of the virus, Papua New Guinea is expected to be in recession this year.