As part of New Zealand’s ongoing response to the war in Ukraine, New Zealand is providing further support and personnel to assist Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced yesterday.
FILE PHOTO: A New Zealand artilleryman in position during firing of an L119 light gun on Exercise Long Tan 2022. Photo by Corporal Naomi James.
“We have been clear throughout Russia’s assault on Ukraine, that such a blatant attack on innocent lives and the sovereignty of another country is wrong, and our response has not only included the condemnation of Russia, but practical support for Ukraine,” PM Ardern said.
“A New Zealand Defence Force artillery training team of up to 30 personnel will be deployed to the United Kingdom to help train Ukrainian military personnel in operating L119 105mm light field guns.
“Our training team has been requested to help train members of Ukraine’s Armed Forces in the use of the weapon system until the end of July.
“This new support comes in addition to the extensive assistance we have already provided to Ukraine, which encompasses the military, humanitarian, legal, and other aspects of the conflict.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and will work in tandem with our partners to ensure that we continue to make a meaningful and effective contribution.”
Minister of Defence Peeni Henare said he was pleased New Zealand could offer the skills and experience of the New Zealand Defence Force through this training, but made it clear that NZDF personnel would not be entering Ukraine.
“The government is acting on a call for help with training, which will enable members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to operate L119 light field guns as they continue to defend their country against attacks by Russian forces,” he said.
“We are also providing approximately 40 gun sights to Ukraine, along with a small quantity of ammunition for training purposes.
“An advance party will deploy this week with the remainder of the artillery training team deploying as soon as practicable.
“The training for the Ukrainian Armed Forces is expected to begin next month,” Mr Henare said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said Aotearoa New Zealand has condemned and continues to condemn, unequivocally, Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine.
“We continue to work closely with a range of international partners in supporting Ukraine, including providing military support such as this, humanitarian assistance and supporting efforts to ensure accountability for human rights violations,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
The government previously approved the deployment of a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130H Hercules aircraft and NZDF personnel to the United Kingdom and Europe to provide intelligence, liaison, transportation and logistics support to the international community’s efforts to support Ukraine’s self-defence.
The NZDF’s New Zealand-based open-source intelligence capability has also been used, and military equipment has been donated to Ukraine.
New Zealand has also donated approximately $15.7 million to purchase military equipment for Ukraine, and commercial satellite access for Ukrainian Defence Intelligence, and has rolled out sanctions targeting those associated with Russia’s invasion.