New Zealand to provide Ukraine with non-lethal military assistance

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern participates in a televised debate with National leader Judith Collins at TVNZ in Auckland, New Zealand, September 22, 2020. Fiona Goodall/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

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WELLINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) - New Zealand said on Monday it will provide Ukraine with a further NZ$5 million ($3.46 million) in funds and non-lethal military assistance including some surplus equipment.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the money would be primarily directed to a NATO Trust Fund that provides fuel, rations, communication equipment and first aid kits to support Ukraine as its battles Russian forces that invaded on Feb. 24.

"We consider what is happening in Ukraine as a massive disruption to the international rules-based order and because of that it impacts all of us and that's why we have taken these extraordinary measures," Ardern told a news conference.

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The New Zealand Defence Force will provide tactical equipment such as body armour, helmets and vests that are surplus to requirements, she said.

This brings New Zealand's total assistance to Ukraine to NZ$11 million.

New Zealand has also imposed sanctions on Russia and arranged a special visa for Ukrainians with New Zealand connections. read more

Russia calls its action in Ukraine a "special operation".

($1 = 1.4463 New Zealand dollars)

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Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Robert Birsel

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