Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced what he called
"modest and careful" sanctions against specific individuals
deemed responsible for the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine and
its annexation by Russia.
The sanctions will be limited to a travel ban, a largely
symbolic protest given the sparse high-level traffic between
Russia and New Zealand.
Mr McCully has not yet specified how many or to whom it would
But the European Union has imposed a travel ban against 33
individuals as well as freezing assets of the target in EU
countries. The United States has similarly imposed sanctions
against 31 individuals and targeted close aides of Russia
president Vladimir Putin.
Mr McCully said New Zealand did not recognise the outcome of
the referendum in Crimea supporting a split away from Ukraine
to Russia - Russia has now formally annexed Crimea.
"Applying sanctions will position New Zealand alongside other
members of the International community who have condemned the
breach of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity,"
"These travel sanctions are a modest and careful step
designed to recognise the significance of the situation but
leave room for further diplomatic work to take place."
He said New Zealand continued to encourage Russia to behave
in a manner consistent with its treaty obligations and the
principles of international law and called on all parties to
take immediate steps to reduce tensions.
The travel ban is not expected to include the Russian foreign
Trade Minister Tim Groser was in Moscow earlier this month
attempting to conclude a free trade deal with Russia but was
pulled out by the Government after Russia moved into Crimea.
- Audrey Young of the New Zealand Herald