Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has strongly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, joining with the international community in calling on Russia to immediately cease military operations in Ukraine.
“This is an unprovoked and unnecessary attack by Russia. By choosing to pursue this entirely avoidable path, an unthinkable number of innocent lives could be lost because of Russia’s decision,” the Prime Minister said.
“We call on Russia to do what is right and immediately cease military operations in Ukraine, and permanently withdraw to avoid a catastrophic and pointless loss of innocent life.
“It is through diplomacy, not unnecessary death and destruction, that all parties can find resolution.”
She said New Zealand has consistently expressed its strong support for international efforts to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis diplomatically.
“Given Russia has demonstrated a disregard for these efforts they must now face the consequences of their decision to invade,” said Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta.
New Zealand will implement a number of measures in response to Russia’s actions, including:
- Introduce targeted travel bans against Russian Government officials and other individuals associated with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in line with a number of our partners;
- Prohibit the export of goods to Russian military and security forces; and
- Suspend bilateral foreign ministry engagement until further notice;
“In applying these measures, New Zealand joins other members of the international community, in responding to this breach of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Minister Mahuta said.
“Given serious concerns that a military conflict in Ukraine could lead to a humanitarian crisis, I have also asked officials to provide advice on humanitarian response options, and how New Zealand could potentially contribute in this area.
“Officials have been engaging with affected businesses about the possible economic and trade impacts a military conflict could have on them. Russia is our 27th largest export market, with dairy accounting for about of half of those exports.
“Our thoughts today are with the people in Ukraine impacted by this conflict. We repeat our call for Russia to act consistently with its international obligations, cease military operations in Ukraine and return to diplomatic negotiations as a pathway to resolve this conflict,” Ms Mahuta said.