Russia invades Ukraine: Putins full-scale war strike condemned by NZ politicians

Condemnation of Russia’s attack and invasion of Ukraine has been swift from New Zealand politicians.

Within an hour of the attack – which began with shelling of key tactical locations in Ukraine – the Government, and foreign affairs spokespeople from National and the Green Party joined international counterparts in speaking out on the attack.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said New Zealand condemned the advance of Russian armed forces into Ukraine.

“We stand with the people of Ukraine impacted by this conflict. Our thoughts are with them,” Mahuta said.

“Russia’s actions are a flagrant breach of fundamental international rules,” she added.

“The use of force to change borders is strictly prohibited under international law.”

Mahuta said New Zealand joined the international community in calling on Russia to cease military operations in Ukraine, and immediately and permanently withdraw.

She said it was important to return to diplomatic negotiations to de-escalate the conflict.

National’s foreign affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee spoke out on the military action.

He also called on the Government to speedily pass legislation allowing New Zealand to stand with our traditional partners in defence of our values.

“We totally condemn President Putin’s decision to conduct military operations in Ukraine. There is no possible justification for the catastrophic damage to human life this will bring,” he said.

“This a threat to global peace and stability many have never seen their lifetime, and the time for twiddling thumbs and putting out statements is over.

“It is not too late for the New Zealand Government to pass legislation allowing our country to join in co-ordination with sanctions being used by our traditional partners to send a clear message to Russia and deter this violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

“If they don’t, this Government must explain why.”

Meanwhile, Green Party foreign affairs spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman called on the Government to “urgently act as mediator of peace”.

“It can do this by speaking immediately to our allies and trading partners, particularly the United States and China, and begin working with them for a swift resolution that promotes non-violence and de-escalation of force in Ukraine,” she said.

“Aotearoa New Zealand has a proud history of being a voice for peace on the global stage and now more than ever we need that voice to be loud and strong.”

She added: “Our first thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and their families, as well as the political activists, journalists, and human rights defenders who dedicate their lives working to build a peaceful future for their country.

“Our thoughts are also with all those who may be the targets of Russian violence, particularly Ukraine’s Rainbow community.”

Late on Thursdayafternoon (New Zealand time) Russian president Vladimir Putin declared a “special military operation” had been launched but the Ukraine Interior Ministry said the Russian invasion had started.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called it “full-scale war”.

US president Joe Biden and other western leaders have condemned Russia’s move – but Putin warned them that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen”.

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