22 Feb 2024

Government increases support for Ukraine, extends NZDF deployment

11:38 am on 22 February 2024

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The government has extended the Defence Force's Ukrainian deployment and confirmed $25.9 million of further support.

Coming just two days ahead of the second anniversary of the invasion, the additional funding brings New Zealand's contribution to more than $100 million.

The $25.9m in funding announced on Thursday includes:

  • $6.5m towards the UK-administered International Fund for Ukraine to procure weapons and ammunition
  • $7m in aid for Ukrainians via international humanitarian agencies and NZ-based non-government organisations
  • $12.4m to continue the NZDF deployment

Foreign Minister Winston Peters' office confirmed the $7m in aid would be delivered through the UN's Ukraine Humanitarian Fund; the International Committee of the Red Cross; the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and accredited New Zealand-based humanitarian non-government organisations.

A further $3m of already-announced funding would also go to the World Bank's Ukraine Relief, Recovery, Reconstruction and Reform Trust Fund.

The New Zealand Defence Force deployment is also being extended, with up to 97 personnel continuing to train Ukrainian soldiers and providing intelligence and logistical support through to June 2025.

Roles would also change from July, "to match the changing needs of Ukraine and its partners", the Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministers Judith Collins and Winston Peters said in a statement.

"Personnel will conduct specialised training in combat casualty care, combat engineering, leadership, and maritime explosive ordnance device training. The personnel will be based throughout Europe, and none will enter Ukraine," the statement said.

Collins said it was a "meaningful, visible and highly credible deployment of skilled personnel".

Peters said the support being offered demonstrated New Zealand's unwavering support for Ukraine, "and our serious commitment to defending an international rules-based system that reflects our values and supports our interests".

"Russia launched its illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter," Peters said.

"The war has had a horrific human cost, caused immense suffering and has significantly impacted regional and global stability. That is why New Zealand remains committed to standing with Ukraine."

The government also confirmed new sanctions under the Russia Sanctions Act 2022 were being worked on.

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