Government announces 120 additional NZDF members to help train Ukrainian soldiers


Ardern, Defense Minister Peeni Henare will hold a post-Cabinet press conference and detail the latest form of assistance New Zealand is providing to Ukraine to help fend off Russian forces. Video / Mark Mitchell

New Zealand will deploy another 120 members of the Defense Force to the UK to help train Ukrainian soldiers to fight Russian forces.

This is in addition to the 30 people sent in May to train Ukrainian military personnel in artillery operation and the more than $40 million provided in financial support.

“New Zealand has made it clear that we will continue to heed Ukraine’s call for practical support as it defends its homeland and people against Russia’s unwarranted invasion,” the prime minister said. Jacinda Ardern.

“We know that one of Ukraine’s top priorities right now is training its soldiers, and New Zealand is proud to stand together alongside a number of other countries in answering that call. “, Ardern said.

Those deployed will travel in installments via commercial flights to the UK over the next three weeks and will remain there until November 30.

Two infantry training teams will teach Ukrainian personnel front-line combat, including weapons handling, combat first aid, operational law and other skills.

Although no members of the New Zealand Defense Force are entering Ukraine, Defense Minister Peeni Henare said it would provide “valuable experience”.

“This deployment also provides an opportunity for NZDF personnel to gain valuable experience practicing basic military skills in a foreign environment, alongside key partners, which promotes retention in our defense workforce,” said Henare said.

“The training will take place exclusively at one of four UK locations and our NZDF staff will not be entering Ukraine.”

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the latest deployment was a testament to New Zealand’s values ​​and “independent foreign policy”.

“Our continued role in contributing to the international response helps Ukraine protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” she said.

In February and March, the government announced that several million dollars would be donated to the United Nations Humanitarian Fund for Ukraine and the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Chief of Defense Force Air Marshal Kevin Short and Defense Minister Peeni Henare will face the media as well as the Prime Minister.  Photo/NZME
Chief of Defense Force Air Marshal Kevin Short and Defense Minister Peeni Henare will face the media as well as the Prime Minister. Photo/NZME

Later in March, $5 million in non-lethal military assistance was sent, consisting of body armor plates, helmets, and camouflage vests/harness straps.

In April, the government deployed a C-130H Hercules transport aircraft and 50 support personnel to Europe for two months, along with an additional $13 million in military, humanitarian and legal support.

A separate team of 8-person logistics specialists from the Defense Forces has also been sent to support the International Donor Coordination Center in Germany with the flow of aid and supplies to Ukraine.

In May, up to 30 members of the Defense Force were deployed to the UK to help train Ukrainian military personnel in the use of the L119 105mm light field guns.

In June, an additional $4.5 million was allocated to provide additional non-lethal equipment and supplies, such as medical kits, to the Ukrainian military.

The Russian military pounded residential areas across Ukraine over the weekend, claiming gains, as Ukrainian forces launched a counteroffensive in an attempt to retake an occupied southern region, hitting the last bridge in walking condition on a river in the Russian-occupied Kherson region, Ukrainian authorities said.

A Russian rocket attack on the city of Kramatorsk left three dead and 13 injured, according to the mayor. Kramatorsk is the headquarters of Ukrainian forces in the war-torn east of the country.

The attack came less than a day after 11 more rockets were fired at the town, one of two major Ukrainian-held towns in Donetsk province, at the center of an ongoing Russian offensive to capture the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.

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