New Zealand condemns Russia’s annexation attempts

Prime Minister Foreign Affairs

New Zealand condemns unequivocally Russia’s attempts to illegally annex Russia-occupied regions of Ukraine, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

“We do not recognise these illegal attempts to change Ukraine’s borders or territorial sovereignty,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Russia’s sham referenda in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are illegitimate, and have no legal basis for acquisition of Ukraine’s territory by Russia.

“These are severe acts of aggression in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and a blatant breach of international law. We continue to stand in solidarity with Ukraine in defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has signalled that New Zealand will implement further measures in response to Russia’s actions.

“These will include imposing further sanctions under our Russia Sanctions Act including on those who support Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine, which has led to these fabricated claims of annexation,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“We have already sanctioned some of these individuals, but will be looking to build on this effort, in addition to other sanctions announcements in the days and weeks ahead.

“I have instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to call in the Russian Embassy, to convey New Zealand’s strong opposition to the actions taken by Russia in recent days and to call on Russia to cease its attempts to illegally annex Ukrainian territory.

“As we have said from the start of Russia’s invasion, we call on Russia to abide by its international obligations, cease immediately its illegal invasion, withdraw its troops and return to diplomatic negotiations as the way to resolve the conflict,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“Russia’s continuing acts of aggression are totally unacceptable,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Aotearoa New Zealand stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and joins the international community in condemning Russia’s illegal annexations,” Jacinda Ardern said.