Thursday, April 25, 2024

More support for Ukraine as war enters winter months

Aotearoa New Zealand will provide further humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine as the conflict enters the winter months, Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta announced today.

“We continue to stand with the people of Ukraine as they face severe hardships over the winter,” Minister Mahuta said.

“Aotearoa New Zealand will provide an additional $3 million through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support Ukrainians with basic humanitarian needs as part of our continuing support for Ukraine.”

The funding will cover essential items like medical supplies and equipment, power transformers and generators to cope with blackouts, and essential winter items for vulnerable families in Ukraine, like food, water and sanitation and hygiene items. 

“Blackouts particularly affect Ukrainians who rely on electricity for their heating, or who live in damaged homes or substandard shelters. Water, sewerage, communications and other essential services are badly impacted. The humanitarian assistance will also support people with disabilities, and de-mining efforts led by the ICRC,” the Minister said.

“This latest contribution is in addition to the $7.93 million in humanitarian assistance already provided to support Ukrainian communities since the start of Russia’s illegal invasion.”

The new contribution comes as the Russian military steps up its deliberate targeting of critical national infrastructure, further deepening the severe humanitarian crisis caused by the illegal invasion.

“Russia’s targeting of energy and other civilian infrastructure is deplorable. As Ukraine faces a harsh winter, Putin’s actions have further disrupted electricity supply, and are harming the health, safety and well-being of already vulnerable communities.”

“The UN currently estimates 17.6 million people in Ukraine, including 3.2 million children, will need humanitarian assistance in 2023, excluding those displaced to neighbouring countries. Harsh winter conditions and the targeting of critical infrastructure are making basic living conditions unbearable.

“We call on Russia to immediately cease attempts to weaponise winter in Ukraine, and to end the targeting of critical infrastructure.

“Russia must also ensure the safety and security of neutral and impartial humanitarian organisations, and facilitate their access to communities in urgent need of assistance,” Ms Mahuta said.

Alongside other diplomatic support, New Zealand has responded to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine by extending our defence commitments, contributing to efforts to hold to account those responsible for Russia’s illegal invasion and aggression, sanctions on more than 1200 Russian and Belarusian individuals and entities, and comprehensive trade measures.

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