SYDNEY — New Zealand said it plans to spend $3.46 million to help Ukrainian forces fight the Russians.
The government in Wellington said the additional money would mostly contribute to a NATO Trust Fund that provides fuel, rations, communication equipment and first aid kits.
The New Zealand military will also provide tactical equipment, including body armor that is surplus to its own requirements.
Delivering this non-lethal aid would most likely be by New Zealand defense force aircraft, and could also involve the Australian military.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that her country is eager to help.
“Today, the government has also decided to support the Ukrainian armed forces with tactical defense equipment such as body armor, helmets and vests,” Ardern said.
“Today’s announcements add to the rolling economic sanctions we have imposed through the newly enacted Russian Sanctions Act, as well as NZ$6m previously provided in humanitarian support bringing our total contribution to NZ$11m. The sanctions imposed from around the world are having an effect, and, so, New Zealand will continue to play its role in supporting our partners to oppose this war.”
New Zealand authorities have not decided to supply lethal aid to Ukrainian forces. It has, however, imposed financial sanctions and travel bans on several Russian politicians and military officers. The ground-breaking law allows New Zealand to freeze the assets of those associated with Russia.
Prime Minister Ardern said it would not be a surprise if New Zealand was hit by retaliatory sanctions by Russia.
She said the February 24 invasion of Ukraine by Russia was a huge disruption to the international rules-based order.
The government has said that New Zealanders traveling to Ukraine to fight in the conflict would probably not be breaking any domestic laws, although the official advice is for citizens not to travel to the region.