Virtue Signaling Goes On: Kiwis Sending 120 staff to Train Ukrainians soldiers in UK


New Zealand is sending another 120 Defense Force personnel to train Ukrainians in the UK. At no point will the nation’s military go into Ukraine, according to the New Zealand press. What’s behind Wellington’s effort?”

I don’t believe that the deployment of 120 New Zealand military trainers to the UK to train Ukrainian soldiers is any different from what NATO has been doing over the past eight years in helping to train and organize the Ukrainian ground forces,” said David T. Pyne, an EMP Task Force scholar and former US Department of Defense officer.

According to Pyne, sending New Zealand military trainers “will have absolutely no effect” on the course of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict and “amounts to little more than virtue signaling as it has become popular in Western leadership circles to show they are doing something to help Ukraine fight Russia.”

The dispatch of 120 New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) personnel was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as a previous 30-person deployment was completed. The New Zealand military will go over in tranches over the next three weeks. The NZDF training mission in the UK will end on November 30. In May, Wellington sent 30 NZDF specialists to the UK to train members of the Ukrainian military in using the L118 Light Gun, a 105 mm towed howitzer, according to New Zealand’s 1 News.

Wellington’s military assistance to Ukraine comes in line with the US and NATO’s increased effort to arm and train Ukrainian troops and neo-Nazi battalions after the beginning of the Russian special operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify the Eastern European state in February 2022.

Pyne believes that “it is a mistake for New Zealand to send their troops to train Ukrainian soldiers.” Instead, Wellington “should be remaining neutral and using what diplomatic influence they have to join the call for a negotiated compromise peace to end the conflict on terms acceptable to both sides,” according to the former Pentagon officer. On June 18, the EMP Task Force scholar proposed a 15 point plan to restore peaceful relations between Russia and NATO and resolve the ongoing standoff in Ukraine in his op-ed for The National Interest.