International Crimea Platform, 23 August 2023

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Prime Minister of Aotearoa New Zealand on Crimea platform.

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou katoa. 

President Zelenskyy, Prime Minister Shmyhal, Excellencies and friends - Greetings from Aotearoa New Zealand.

New Zealand has been concerned about the situation in Crimea since Russia invaded the Peninsula in 2014.

We have been a supporter of the Crimea Platform since its launch in 2021 and continue to see the Platform as a way to channel our collective voices and hold Russia to account for its horrific actions in Crimea and across Ukraine. 

New Zealand condemned Russia’s attempted illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. We continue to condemn it now. 

As an island nation in the Pacific with voyaging roots from both the Pacific and Europe, indigenous rights are a core focus for us in both our domestic and foreign policies. 

The principles of partnership and mutual respect are embodied in our founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, which was signed between the British Crown and many Māori tribes in 1840. 

We are very concerned by evidence that the situation for Crimea’s indigenous people has worsened since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

In the last year alone, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has documented extensive human rights violations by the Russian occupiers in Crimea. 

The evidence points to the victims disproportionately belonging to ethnic minorities in the indigenous Crimean population.  

These abuses by Russia must stop now. Ukraine’s defence of its borders, which include Crimea, is a defence of the international rules and norms we all depend on for our peace and prosperity.   

New Zealanders also view this as a fight to defend the core democratic principles that so many of us hold dear - like territorial integrity, freedom, and fundamental human rights.

For all these reasons, New Zealand continues to stand in steadfast support for Ukraine and its people as they continue to defend their homeland, and in doing so, the principles that we hold dear.  Together with over 30 countries we are applying sanctions to collectively exert pressure on Russia to cease its ongoing aggression.  

Today, I am announcing that another 21 Russian entities and individuals will be sanctioned by New Zealand this week. 

This will see over 1600 people and entities sanctioned by New Zealand in response to the illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.  

At the NATO Summit in Vilnius last month, I had the pleasure of meeting President Zelenskyy in person for the first time. I assured him then what I reiterate now – New Zealand will continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s illegal and reprehensible aggression against their nation. 

New Zealand remains a firm supporter of the international rules-based system. We will continue supporting the collective effort to ensure that those responsible for Russia’s aggression and ongoing human rights abuses are held accountable.

Because New Zealand believes in a world where might doesn’t mean right. 

To turn our back on Ukraine would be to turn our back on our very own values and principles, and on democracy itself.

New Zealanders would never accept that.

Noho ora mai.  Stay safe.  Stay well.

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa


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