Defence minister reaffirms New Zealand's support of Ukraine

By Stefan Dimitrof

Defence Minister Peeni Henare has completed a trip to Poland and Ukraine to meet his counterparts and to reiterate "New Zealand's steadfast support for Ukraine's defence against Russia's unlawful and unprovoked invasion".

He said the visit served as an example of this country's support for the Ukrainian people "and a recognition of their valiant self-defence efforts more than 267 days after Russia's unlawful and illegitimate invasion.

Henare met Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov while in Kyiv and paid his respects to those who have lost their lives in the conflict at the Wall of Remembrance of the Fallen for Ukraine. He also gave the minister a patu.

He said he was proud to be there on behalf of New Zealand. "Our efforts have been well received. It’s a sobering reminder for us all of the challenges of the conflict and why it is important to push for de-escalation and diplomacy,” Henare said.

He also travelled to Poland, where he met National Defense Minister Mariusz Baszczak.

“New Zealand and Poland share the same values on Ukraine; we agreed to continue to have open conversations into the future about what more we can do to help Ukrainian resilience and the rebuild effort.”

“Principles matter, and while Aotearoa might be on the other side of the world and far removed from the fighting, we are committed to upholding the rules of international law and the United Nations Charter and do what we can to support - that is what this visit was about,” Henare said.

He will now head to Cambodia to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Siem Reap.