NZ PM offered 'unique opportunity' to visit Zelensky

Amid escalating tensions in Ukraine, a meeting between Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is on the table.

NZ PM offered 'unique opportunity' to visit Zelensky
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Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has extended an invitation to New Zealand's Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, for a meeting next month.

The invite comes amid an escalating crisis in Ukraine, which the Eastern European nation believes requires international solidarity and support.

During a recent appearance on TVNZ’s Breakfast show, the Ukrainian Ambassador to New Zealand, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, revealed that Zelensky had proposed the rendezvous about a month ago. The proposed meeting is set to occur just before a NATO summit in Europe.

The ambassador described the conversation leading up to the invitation as productive.

"The president has conveyed an invitation to visit Kyiv, and I believe that will be a unique opportunity,” Myroshnychenko stated.

Emphasising the importance of international support, Myroshnychenko said, “Every journey that a foreign dignitary makes to Kyiv at this juncture signifies support for Ukraine, it's a demonstration of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and the Ukrainian people are immensely grateful for the support emanating from New Zealand."

He further added:

"I consider a visit to Ukraine to be a unique opportunity, particularly given the prime minister's imminent presence in Europe. This gesture will hold high significance for Ukrainians, who are currently engaged in a severe battle in the east, endeavouring to liberate Ukraine and uphold democracy.”

Last year, former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declined an invitation to Kyiv due to a scheduling conflict during a trade mission in Europe. Meanwhile, other leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, visited Ukraine.

Tensions in Ukraine have been on the rise. A recent air raid on Ukraine's capital by Russia resulted in casualties and sparked panic among the residents who sought refuge in shelters to evade the incessant bombardments.

Ambassador Myroshnychenko stated that Zelensky would be “delighted” to welcome Hipkins either a day before or after the NATO summit, expressing hopes for a fruitful discussion.


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