Following President Zelensky’s address to Parliament this week, we announced more humanitarian aid to support the people of Ukraine.
Under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s leadership, New Zealand has been strong in our condemnation of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war. We’ve joined the international community in calling on Russia to immediately stop military operations in Ukraine to avoid a catastrophic loss of innocent life.
Aotearoa New Zealand was one of the first countries to provide humanitarian aid for Ukraine, with a focus on supporting health facilities and meeting basic needs such as provision of food and hygiene items. Now, we’re providing even more support through the International Committee of the Red Cross to support Ukrainians with basic humanitarian needs.
This will cover 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 people in Ukraine who rely on electricity for their heating, or who live in damaged homes or substandard shelters. Water, sewerage, communications and other essential services are also badly impacted.
Our new humanitarian support comes as the Russian military has stepped up its deliberate targeting of critical national infrastructure in Ukraine, further deepening the severe humanitarian crisis caused by the illegal invasion.
Alongside New Zealand’s humanitarian support, we’ve responded to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine in a number of other ways. We have provided medical supplies and personal equipment for those in the field, and our assets have helped to move supplies around the region at some of the most critical points of the conflict.
But we’ve also done what we can to hold Russia to account for their actions. We passed the Russia Sanctions Act to implement unilateral sanctions for the first time ever, and we’ve put in place extensive travel bans.
On top of that, we’ve looked to support citizens in Ukraine with a special visa to ensure our Ukrainian community can bring their family members here, of which more than 1,100 have now been granted.
Our solidarity with Ukraine is matched by our resolve to strengthen the international institutions that govern us and to accelerate disarmament, and we will continue with this work.
As the Prime Minister said in her address to President Zelenskyy this week:
Our support for Ukraine was not determined by geography. It was not determined by history or by diplomatic ties or relationships. Our judgement was a simple one.
We asked ourselves the question, what if it was us. What if it was us that experienced a breach of our territorial integrity? What if it was us that was the subject of such a breach of the international rules based order? Of the blatant misuse of multilateral institutions?
We would want the international community to use their voice, regardless of their political system, their distance, or their size. And so that is what we have done, by supporting Ukraine in the most practical ways possible.
You can find out more about Aotearoa New Zealand's support for Ukraine here.
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