New Zealand defence minister visits Ukraine, reaffirms support

New Zealand's Minister of Defence Peeni Henare speaks during an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore

(Reuters) - New Zealand said on Sunday Defence Minister Peeni Henare has visited Kyiv to reaffirm the Pacific nation's support for Ukraine's resistance to Russia's invasion.

"We discussed New Zealand's recent extension of the infantry training support mission in the UK for Ukrainian troops out to July 2023," Henare said in a statement after holding bilateral talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov.

"Visiting Kyiv sends a strong message that ... our support for the Ukrainian defensive effort against Russia's illegal invasion is unwavering."

Henare also visited Kyiv's Wall of Remembrance of the Fallen for Ukraine to pay respects to victims of the war.

New Zealand last week said it would send a further 66 defence personnel to Britain to help train Ukrainian soldiers.

Since Russia's attack on Ukraine - which Moscow calls a "special military operation" to rid its neighbour of extremists - began in February, New Zealand has sanctioned over 1,200 Russian individuals and entities. It has also provided over NZ$60 million ($37 million) in assistance.

Henare also visited Poland, where he met Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, and expressed New Zealand's condolences for the loss of life from the recent missile strike in Poland.

($1 = 1.6260 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)