New Zealand's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday summoned the Russian envoy to Wellington and conveyed its strong condemnation of Moscow's recognition of two breakaway regions of Ukraine as independent states.
In a statement, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said recent actions by Moscow point toward an imminent invasion of Ukraine's territory.
“We repeat our call for Russia to act consistently with its international obligations, and return to diplomatic negotiations as a pathway to resolve this conflict," said Mahuta.
“We have consistently expressed our strong support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and international diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the crisis to find a peaceful solution.
“A military invasion is an act of aggression, and a violation of one of the most basic tenets of international law. New Zealand is ready to take further measures,” she added.
Mahuta said that her country is also prepared to impose travel and export bans, and diplomatic measures in line with other partners.
She warned that Moscow's actions could have far-reaching and serious humanitarian, security and economic implications for the region and globally.
“We are very clear: any act of Russian aggression in Ukraine poses a direct threat to global peace and security, and would represent a further violation of international law,” she said.
On Monday, Putin ordered troops into Luhansk and Donetsk region of Ukraine reportedly for "peacekeeping" purposes.