New Zealander wounded in Ukraine

Ukrainian servicemen ride on an armoured vehicle in Mariupol following the ceasefire.

Ukrainian servicemen ride on an armoured vehicle in Mariupol following the ceasefire.

A New Zealand Russian has been wounded fighting in Ukraine, community sources say.

The man, who has flown from the conflict wounded is being treated by the New Zealand health services.

Sources say he suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and concussion after a firefight in eastern Ukraine.

He had left New Zealand several months ago to fight with the Russian-backed separatists, which are trying to break away from the Kiev government to create separate states, or to join Russia.

"His wounds are not difficult, he was hurt by gunfire in Ukraine," a source said.

Leading members of the Russian community in Auckland were angry at attempts to contact the wounded man.

About 6000 ethnic Russians live in New Zealand, the majority of them in Auckland. 

Census data says there are 852 Ukrainians in New Zealand.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully could not be reached for comment on the involvement of New Zealand Russians, but last week said the Government was disturbed over reports indicating the involvement of Russian troops in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"It is important that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is fully respected and that all parties adhere to international law," McCully said.

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The conflict has also affected the New Zealand fishing industry, with both Sealord and Independent Fisheries having used Ukrainian-flagged vessels.

Independent has reflagged its ship to New Zealand.

Sealord ships, while still flying the Ukrainian flag and permanently based in Nelson, are home-ported to Sevastopol in Crimea, which is now under Russian control.

Sealord has 240 people working on the vessels, a company spokeswoman said.

Most of them were from Crimea but had Ukrainian passports.

"Operations of the vessels are all running smoothly," she said.

 - Stuff

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