There’s not a lot that a small country like New Zealand can do when a large power like Russia threatens another country.
But we’re doing what we can.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully called the Russian ambassador in over the escalation of tensions.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says the Russian Ambassador was called in to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade this afternoon over the escalation of tensions in Ukraine.
“On my instructions the Russian Ambassador has been called in to the Ministry to hear directly New Zealand’s views on the situation in the Ukraine,” Mr McCully says.
“New Zealand is deeply alarmed at the escalation of tensions in Ukraine over recent days and we condemn the breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We understand Russia has significant interests especially in the Crimean Peninsula, however they need to pursue these interests in a manner that is consistent with Russia’s treaty obligations, international law and accepted international norms.
“New Zealand calls on the Russian Government to take steps to reduce tensions and to engage in consultations with other affected parties to achieve this objective.”
We’re also using trade as a lever:
Prime Minister John Key ordered Trade Minister Tim Groser home from Russia today, ending for now any further discussions on a Russian free trade deal that has been three years in the making as Russia ratchets up pressure on Ukraine on the Crimean Peninsula.
Groser had been in Moscow for trade talks ahead of a possible visit to the Russian capital by Key in a fortnight as part of a global swing through China and Europe that will take in meetings with senior Chinese leadership and an international Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands.
Key said he was only missing Moscow on the forthcoming trip because suggested dates had not worked for the Russian president Vladimir Putin, although continuing to discuss an FTA with Russia in the present circumstances was not appropriate.
“I don’t think we could seriously, even if Mr Groser could tie up a deal this afternoon, (sign a free trade agreement) at the same time as we are expressing our deep concern about the threat to sovereignty in Ukraine,” said Key. . .
I wouldn’t go so far as this:
I think NZ saying to Russia 'leave Crimea or we don't do free trade with you' might actually be the one thing to stop this war.—
Heath duPlessisAllan (@hdpaNEWS) March 03, 2014
But trade, or a threat to it, is the strongest way we can condemn Russia’s actions.