6 Dec 2022

Volodymyr Zelensky to address New Zealand Parliament next Wednesday

7:34 pm on 6 December 2022
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a press briefing after the International Summit on Food Security in Kyiv on November 26, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. - Leaders from Belgium, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv to hold the International Summit on Food Security. (Photo by Genya SAVILOV / AFP)

Ukraine's President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo: AFP

Ukraine's President, Volodymyr Zelensky, will address New Zealand's Parliament next Wednesday.

RNZ has been told he will address MPs via video link outside of Parliament's usual sitting hours - at 8am.

Zelensky was invited to speak to MPs following a request from Ukraine's Ambassador to New Zealand.

The decision to host the President outside of normal Parliamentary sitting hours was made by the Parliamentary Business Committee this afternoon and confirmed with Ukraine.

He will become just the second head of a foreign government to address New Zealand's Parliament, after Australia's Julia Gillard in 2011.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand was unequivocal in its condemnation of Russia's illegal and "unprovoked attack" on Ukraine.

"This address is a valuable opportunity to reiterate our support for Ukraine directly to President Zelenskyy and hear from him what the international community can do to continue to support its people, and its sovereignty," she said.

"Russia has chosen war, and continues to pursue a path that is claiming an unthinkable number of innocent lives. It's also causing crippling economic pain on families and communities across the globe.

"We again call on Russia to do what is right and immediately cease military operations in Ukraine and end this war."

Zelensky has spoken to many parliaments around the world since the start of the Russian invasion in February, appealing for more help in Ukraine's war against Russia.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke to Zelensky by phone in June, while Minister of Defence Peeni Henare visited Kyiv last month.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs