Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemns Russia’s escalation of invasion of Ukraine

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Jacinda Ardern condemned the “extraordinary escalation” of the Russian invasion of Ukraine by President Vladimir Putin.
Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has strongly condemned Russia’s recent escalation in the war in Ukraine, including the threat of nuclear weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of military reservists — Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 300,000 people would be mobilized — and expressed a thinly veiled threat to use nuclear weapons.

Russia “also has several means of destruction,” he said.

“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use every means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. It is not a bluff.”

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Ardern said New Zealand already condemned the “illegal invasion” and stood “firmly against the escalation of this invasion”.

The threat of the use of nuclear weapons emphasized the falsity of the war, she said.

“[It] goes against the lie that they have told that they are there to liberate others and yet they would use the threat of such weapons against them.

“What we need here is a rallying cry from the world: what is happening in Ukraine is illegal, it is immoral, it causes the loss of civilian lives and that loss can spread if, as Putin claimed, he destroys the types of weapons that him in this war.”

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She said the Ukrainian conflict was an example of why New Zealand wanted to rid the world of nuclear weapons by saying “we are all unsafe as long as these weapons exist”.

US President Joe Biden, who previously spoke at the UN, accused Russia of making “reckless” and “irresponsible” threats to use nuclear weapons and said Moscow had violated the core principles of United Nations membership by entering Ukraine. fall.

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Ardern spoke to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at an event they both attended in New York.

He was “very familiar” [with] and very grateful for New Zealand’s help in the conflict, she later told reporters.

New Zealand troops, based in the UK, train Ukrainian recruits and military equipment has also been donated.

Ardern said she had not been asked for further support.

“I have not had anyone close to the conflict express anything but gratitude for the magnitude of New Zealand’s contribution.”

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