New Zealand defence minister visits Kyiv

Defence Minister Peeni Henare has become the first New Zealand government minister to visit Ukraine.

On Sunday, the New Zealand government announced Mr Henare made a whirlwind 10-hour visit to Kyiv on Saturday as part of a recent trip to Ukraine and Poland.

While in the capital, Mr Henare met with Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov and visited the Wall of Remembrance of the Fallen for Ukraine to pay respects for the war dead.

"Visiting Kyiv sends a strong message that New Zealand stands with the people of Ukraine and that our support for the Ukrainian defensive effort against Russia's illegal invasion is unwavering," Mr Henare said.

"I reiterated New Zealand's strong support for Ukraine's territorial integrity, and its people, and affirm our ongoing, unequivocal condemnation of Russia's aggression."

Like many other developed nations, New Zealand has offered financial and military assistance towards the defence of Ukraine without sending troops.

Jacinda Ardern's government has given $NZ21.1 million ($19.5 million) in military support and about 2000 pieces of military equipment while sending defence force personnel to Europe on logistics and training missions.

It has also pledged more than $NZ10 million ($9.2 million) in humanitarian and legal aid and offered more than 1000 special visas to Ukrainians.

New Zealand has also levied sanctions targeting the movement and finances of more than 1000 Russians and introduced tariffs and trading bans on various industries.

Mr Henare said more support was likely.

"We agreed to continue to have open conversations into the future around what more we can do to help Ukrainian resilience and the rebuild effort," he said.

While there is no formal New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) presence in Ukraine, a number of Kiwi soldiers have joined the front lines as part of an unauthorised international militia.

Dominic Abelen, one soldier who took leave from his NZDF duties to join the fight, was killed in August, with diplomats unable to return his body to New Zealand.

While in Poland, Mr Henare also met with National Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.