National has called on the Government to join other likeminded countries in condemning the use of military action by Russia on Ukrainian ships, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Todd McClay says.
“The recent use of force to capture Ukrainian vessels and citizens violated the 2003 agreement between Russia and Ukraine and National condemns those actions in the strongest possible terms.
“We join the governments of likeminded countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union Member states as well as NATO in condemning Russia’s unprovoked actions.
“We call on Russia to release the 24 Ukrainian sailors it has detained and to enter into meaningful talks with the Ukrainian Government in respect of disputed territories and free access to the Crimean Peninsula.
“But while a growing number of countries that New Zealand shares common values with have spoken out against Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine as they amass more than 80,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, our Government once again is silent.
“The Government should progress the Autonomous Sanctions Bill, launched by the previous Government. Doing so would allow us to better stand up against this type of aggression by imposing sanctions, outside of the UN process.”