Thursday, April 25, 2024

50-strong team deployed to Ukraine

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today announced the deployment of a C-130H Hercules and 50-strong team to Europe to further support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.

The PM announced the deployment along with $13 million in further support including a contribution via the United Kindgom to procure weapons and ammunition.

“Our support is to assist the Ukraine Army to repel a brutal Russian invasion because peace in the region of Europe is essential for global stability,” Ms Ardern said.

“Such a blatant attack on a country’s sovereignty is a threat to all of us and that’s why we too have a role to play.

“The global response has seen an unprecedented amount of military support pledged for Ukraine, and more help to transport and distribute it is urgently needed, and so we will do our bit to help.”

The measures decided by Cabinet today include:

  • The deployment of an NZDF C-130H Hercules transport aircraft and 50 support personnel to Europe – for two months;
  • A further NZDF 8-person team logistic specialists to support the international donor coordination centre in Germany with the flow of aid and supplies to Ukraine;
  • An extra $13.1 million, towards military and legal and human rights support, including:
    • $7.5m to contribute to weapons and ammunition procurement by the United Kingdom
    • $4.1m to support commercial satellite access for the Ukrainian Defence Intelligence
    • $1m to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
    • $500,000 for the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court.

“Our support to date has been comprehensive and covers every aspect of this conflict – humanitarian, legal, military, transportation, and people – and is in addition to the economic and trade sanctions we have put in place to help cripple the Russian economy,” the Prime Minister said.

Over the next two months, our C-130 will join a chain of military aircraft from partner nations, travelling throughout Europe, via the United Kingdom, carrying much-needed equipment and supplies to key distribution centres. But at no point will they enter Ukraine, nor have they been asked to, the Prime Minister maintained.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of international law, which is why we are supporting the International Criminal Court in their investigations to hold Russia to account.”

“We will continue to answer to the calls of Ukraine, with regular reviews of how we can keep making the greatest difference,” Ms Ardern said.

The Minister of Defence, Peeni Henare, said he was pleased New Zealand could offer the additional measures to both support our partners and Ukraine. 

“These measures today follow decisions in recent weeks by the Government to help support Ukraine, including the supply of a range of defence equipment requested by Ukraine, and the deployment of nine defence intelligence and liaison personnel,” he said.

“Over the next few months, our team will travel throughout Europe transporting much-needed equipment and supplies to key distribution centres, but at no point will they enter Ukraine. The Hercules is set to go on Wednesday.

“This deployment is in response to a direct ask by the UK, which identified that New Zealand could play a tangible role in supporting what has become an enormous logistical task.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta said Cabinet’s decisions were a further demonstration of New Zealand’s commitment to broader international efforts to support Ukraine.

“This package is a substantial further extension of what is already New Zealand’s most significant response to an international crisis in recent history. Supporting Ukraine’s self-defence is at a critical inflection point as we continue to respond to Ukraine’s broad range of needs and those of its people; be they military, economic, humanitarian or supporting legal international frameworks.”

“We also continue work at pace to continue rolling out sanctions and target those associated with Russia’s egregious actions,” Ms Mahuta said.

Today’s announcement brings New Zealand’s total contribution to the Ukraine to $30 million and 67 people deployed.

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