Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this morning spoke to Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, to offer New Zealand’s strong support for Ukraine and its people, and its total condemnation of Russia’s aggression.

No captionJacinda Ardern and Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. Photo: NZME / AFP


“Prime Minister Shmyhal thanked New Zealand for being one of the first countries to take swift practical action against Russia’s aggression,” Ardern said.

“As he noted, when it comes to the importance of the global response, there is no bigger or smaller country, there are only countries that are reacting.”

Ardern said she told Shmyhal that this country considered Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attacks on his neighbour to be “unprovoked, unjustified and illegal”.

“New Zealand will continue to call on Russia to immediately cease military operations in Ukraine, and permanently withdraw to avoid further catastrophic loss of innocent life,” she said in a statement released after the phone call.

This week the government has announced an initial $6 million to help with humanitarian needs in the wake of the Russian onslaught.

During the call the two leaders discussed what other support might be needed.

Ardern told Shmyhal that the Russia sanctions legislation, passed under urgency, was historic for this country.

It means 364 political and military individuals have been placed on a travel ban list while Putin and members of his security council are subject to sanctions, including prohibition of maritime vessels and aircraft and asset freezes.

“Russia continues to demonstrate a disregard for diplomacy and efforts to avoid conflict, and must continue to face the consequences of their decision to invade Ukraine,” Ardern said.