The Government is donating body armour and helmets to Ukrainian forces, and will give $5 million to NATO, breaking from New Zealand’s traditional aid funding.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO, meaning there is no legal obligation for NATO countries to come to its defence. Nevertheless, NATO has sent thousands of weapons to Ukraine to help defend itself against Russia.
US President Joe Biden is opposed a no-fly zone in Ukraine, something his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin says would be tantamount to a declaration of war. But last week Biden signed off an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including 800 anti-aircraft systems.
While New Zealand is not a member of NATO, it is one of a few countries often referred to as “partners across the globe” that contribute to NATO-led defence operations.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stood alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in 2019 at the Beehive and praised New Zealand’s contributions in the fight against terrorism, including its role in NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan.
The $5 million NATO donation will go towards non-lethal military aid. It will be primarily directed to the NATO Trust Fund which provides fuel, military rations, communications and military first aid kits to support Ukraine.
The New Zealand Defence Force will also provide 1066 body armour plates to the Ukrainian forces, along with 473 helmets and 571 camouflage vests.
Even ‘Peaceniks’ within the Jacinda Junta will be uneasy about this: why is NZ involving itself in yet another war that has nothing to do with us? Does siding with Ukraine’s corrupt neo-Nazis against Russia say that we want everything Russian to Stuff off, and to what end?