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New Zealand’s support to Ukraine evolves as war continues

NZDF personnel deployed on Operation Tīeke in the United Kingdom have marked the departure of the latest intake of Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) soldiers to complete their basic infantry training, and are readying to pivot to a new training approach.

20 May, 2024

Op Tīeke Senior National Officer, Major Matt Blake, said personnel should be incredibly proud of their contribution to Ukraine’s security to date.

“The training delivered by New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel has prepared Ukrainian soldiers for the realities of war, and taught the necessary skills to support Ukraine’s self-defence. There’s no doubt the training has saved lives.

“I am incredibly proud of my team, who have worked side by side with Ukrainian soldiers in challenging conditions - through the mud, rain and snow. They have done their utmost to share every bit of knowledge and skill they can,” Major Blake said.

“The training NZDF delivers has evolved to become more realistic, intense and aligned with the latest lessons from the battlefield. New Zealand personnel have left no stone unturned and enhanced all facets of the training delivery to ensure the soldiers are as best prepared as possible.”

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NZDF personnel perform a haka to farewell the latest intake of AFU recruits from the training grounds in the UK

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More than 3,100 AFU soldiers have been trained by NZDF personnel in the UK

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More than 3,100 AFU soldiers have been trained by NZDF personnel in the UK

The NZDF has trained more than 3,100 AFU recruits, and is now adapting what it delivers to more specialist training and ‘train the trainer’ support. This shift will commence with the next intake of Ukrainians in July, and includes medical and mine awareness training.

Reflecting on Op Tīeke, Land Component Commander, Brigadier Matt Weston, noted the importance of the Defence Force contributing in a positive way to security issues around the world.

“Helping another country to defend themselves from an aggressive invader demonstrates the NZDF’s support and commitment to the rules based international order. 

“As we have continuously done throughout Op Tīeke, we are adapting to meet the needs of Ukrainians in a way that balances NZDF resources, while maximising the direct support we can provide. We will continue to evolve the training we provide as the needs change."

“This is important work. We can be justifiably proud of the work we’ve done to help Ukraine defend their country,” Brigadier Weston said.