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New Zealand set to send troops to UK to train Ukrainian army

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ukrainian servicemen attend a rehearsal of an official ceremony to hand over tanks, armoured personnel carriers and military vehicles to the Ukrainian Armed Forces as the country celebrates Army Day in Kyiv, Ukraine December 6, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

New Zealand is set to send 120 troops to the United Kingdom to help train Ukrainian soldiers to fight against Russian troops in front-line combat.

The government in Wellington said in a statement on Monday that two infantry teams will train 800 Ukrainian personnel with the core skills to be effective in combat, including weapon handling, combat first aid, operational law, and other skills.

Announcing the deployment during a news conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the Russian military operation against Ukraine and dubbed it “wrong and intolerable”.

“Our condemnation will continue to extend beyond words and include critical support,” Ardern said, stressing that her troops have not and would not engage in direct combat in Ukraine.

The development comes on the heels of the deployment of 30 New Zealand defense personnel to train Ukrainian military personnel in operating artillery.

Different Western governments have supported Ukraine by sending lethal arms or training soldiers, which Russia condemns and calls on the intervening states not to fan the flames of war.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a “special military operation” was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

The operation has seen waves of sanctions being imposed on Russia by Western powers, including the US and the UK.

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