Invasion of Russia: New Zealand sends 50 soldiers to Europe to help with the logistics of transporting weapons to Ukraine

Another eight Defense Force logistics specialists will be sent to Germany to support the International Donation Coordination Center in the flow of aid and supplies to Ukraine.

The C-130 will join a chain of military aircraft from partner nations, traveling throughout Europe carrying equipment and supplies to key distribution centers. But at no time will New Zealand troops enter Ukraine.

The $13.1 million will go towards military, legal and human rights support, including $7.5 million for UK arms and ammunition purchases, $4.1 million to support commercial satellite access for Ukrainian forces, $1 million to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and $500,000 for the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

“Our support is to help the Ukrainian army repel a brutal Russian invasion, because peace in the Europe region is essential for global stability,” Ardern said Monday.

“Such a blatant attack on a country’s sovereignty is a threat to all of us and that’s why we too have a role to play,” she said of the Russian invasion.

“The global response has seen an unprecedented amount of military support pledged to Ukraine, and more help to transport and distribute it is urgently needed, and so we will do our part to help.”

It follows the deployment of nine New Zealand Defense Force analysts to the UK and Belgium to assist Ukraine. The Defense Force also assists its European partners by gathering war intelligence during their night hours.

The Defense Forces also provided 1,066 body armor plates to the Ukrainian forces, as well as 473 helmets and 571 camouflage vests.

Last month, New Zealand donated $5 million to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to support Ukraine with non-lethal military aid. It would primarily go to the NATO trust fund, which provides fuel, military rations, communications and military first aid kits.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO, which means there was no legal obligation for NATO countries to defend it after the Russian invasion in February. Russia has long sought assurances that its former Soviet neighbor would not join the military alliance.

Although New Zealand is not a member of NATO, it is one of the few countries called “Partners Across the Globe” that contribute to NATO-led defense operations.

The government also passed the Russia Sanctions Act, giving it the power to freeze the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and 12 members of his Security Council, as well as interdict their ships and aircraft. The law also prohibits certain people and businesses from traveling to New Zealand or moving their money and property to escape sanctions imposed by other countries.

The government stepped up its response last week by imposing a 35% import tax on Russian goods over alleged wartime ‘atrocities’ committed in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, where a mass grave was discovered a month after the takeover of the area by Russian troops.

The government has also banned the export of industrial products such as ICT equipment and motors.

“Russia will be held accountable,” Ardern said.

Along with 41 other countries, New Zealand announced its support for the International Criminal Court’s investigation into Russian war crimes and funded the investigation.

Russia responded by blacklisting New Zealand. Ardern, along with all MPs, spy chiefs and heads of the Defense Forces, were banned from entering Russia in retaliation for the sanctions. The same goes for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and 228 other influential Australians.

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