March 28 update:

The Government has announced it is contributing Defense Force personnel and support to the UK and other European partners to aid efforts against Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

As part of its support of Ukraine against Russian invasion, the New Zealand Government will immediately deploy nine Defense Force personnel to the United Kingdom and Belgium to support intelligence and engagement work for the next three months, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced at the post-cabinet press conference on March 28.

Seven of these are NZ defense force intelligence analysts, who will go to the UK to assist with the heightened demand for intelligence assessments due to the war.

“Some will directly support intelligence work on the Ukraine war, and some will join existing teams focussed on other parts of the world to free up work within the UK teams,” said Ardern.

The remaining two Defense Force personnel will go to the UK and Belgium to better understand how the invasion of Ukraine is progressing.

Cabinet has also approved the use of the Defense Forces computing capabilities by the UK and other European partners for three months.

New Zealand will provide an extra $5 million to help support Ukraine. Alongside this, the Government will also provide body armour, helmets and vests to Ukraine’s armed forces.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement on Monday afternoon. 

The additional $5m will “support Ukraine as they continue with the defence of their homeland”, Ardern said.

Ukraine has been resisting a Russian invasion for almost a month. 

This brings New Zealand’s financial support of Ukraine to $11m.

The money will contribute to the NATO Trust Fund for non-lethal military assistance such as fuel, military rations, communications and military first-aid kits, Ardern said.

New Zealand will also provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with tactical defence equipment such as body armour, helmets, and vests.

Ardern had spoken to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, this morning. 

Ardern said Shmyhal had thanked New Zealand for moving quickly to condemn the invasion of his country, and put in place sanctions against Russia.

“At the conclusion of my call with the prime minister, I noted that New Zealand may not be the largest country, but we are standing ready to do what we could,” Ardern said.

“His response was a reminder of what solidarity means. He said ‘there are no bigger or smaller countries, only those that react’.”

On March 9, the Government passed the Russian Sanctions Act, imposing travel bans on 350 people including key political and military officials. 

“Officials are now working to progressively add to that list, including looking into Russian people with notable investments in New Zealand,” Ardern said today.

The Russian Sanctions Act also means superyachts and ships can be stopped from entering, Russian assets in New Zealand can be frozen and sanctions can also apply to trade.

Top Image: Ukrainian flag flying on a windy day. (File photo) Photo: Silent_GOS/iStock

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