The New Zealand Government has announced that up to 120 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will be deployed to the UK to train Ukrainian infantry recruits.

The deployment will begin over the next three weeks and continue until 30 November and is in response to an invitation from the UK Armed Forces to support the infantry training programme. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “New Zealand has been clear that we will continue to answer the call of Ukraine for practical support as they defend their homeland and people against Russia’s unjustified invasion.

“We know that one of the highest priorities for Ukraine right now is to train its soldiers, and New Zealand is proud to stand in solidarity, alongside a number of other countries, to answer that call.”

The latest deployment is part of New Zealand’s efforts to support Ukraine, which includes financial aid worth nearly $40m that has been pledged so far.

An infantry training contingent from the New Zealand Army will be divided into two teams to train nearly 800 Ukrainian personnel. 

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The NZDF personnel will train Ukrainians in weapon handling, combat first aid, and operational law, among other key soldier skills necessary in frontline combat.

New Zealand Defence Minister Peeni Henare said: “This deployment also provides an opportunity for NZDF personnel to gain valuable experience through conducting core soldier skills in a foreign environment, alongside key partners, which promotes retention in our defence workforce.

“The training will be conducted exclusively at one of four locations in the UK and our NZDF personnel will not enter Ukraine.”

In May this year, NZDF logistics personnel started working with international militaries as part of the International Donor Co-ordination Centre (IDCC) in Germany to coordinate the delivery of donated military aid to Ukraine.