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New Zealand Increases Military Aid to Ukraine

The New Zealand government has enhanced its defense commitments to Ukraine, boosting military equipment funding and extending training for Ukrainian warfighters.

Prime Minister Jacina Ardern on Monday announced an undisclosed amount of additional military support to improve Ukraine’s self defense nine months into Russia’s invasion.

The government is also expanding its support for the British-led operation training for Ukrainian armed troops by sending an additional 66-person infantry training team until July 2023.

At present, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has deployed a total of 135 soldiers to the United Kingdom and Europe. 

“The extended support builds on the package of military, diplomatic, legal and humanitarian assistance provided by Aotearoa New Zealand since Russia’s war of aggression began in February,” Ardern said. 

“Putin’s continued pursuit of this war is fundamentally wrong. We call on Russia to reverse course and withdraw from Ukraine. Ukrainians, both in uniform and civilians, die every day as Russia’s senseless attacks continue.”

Infantry Basic Combat Course

New Zealand’s support for Ukrainian defense capabilities began in May after the government sent 30 troops to provide artillery training to Ukrainian forces.

In August, Wellington deployed an additional 120 soldiers, splitting the NZDF forces into two training teams.

The five-week training focused on infantry basic combat courses, designed to strengthen Ukrainian warfighters’ survivability and lethality on the battlefield.

Among the topics covered in the course are an introduction to soldiering, tactical exercises, range practice, live field firing, weapons handling, combat first aid, operational law, fieldcraft, offensive and defensive operations, and marksmanship. 

“The New Zealand training teams have integrated seamlessly with the Ukrainian training audiences, the recruits having responded very well to the New Zealand soldiers and officers instructing them,” Senior National Officer Major Tom Kelly said.

“The humility, dedication and professionalism our soldiers and officers display is being noticed and is having an impact on the battlefield.”

According to the NZDF, the first group of more than 320 trainees have already returned to Ukraine to boost the country’s defense.

A second group of more than 320 recruits are set to complete their training and may either continue with specialized training or join the battle in their home country.

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