Government calls on New Zealanders in Ukraine to leave immediately

The New Zealand Government is advising Kiwis in Ukraine to leave immediately, as a possible Russian invasion looms.

"In response to heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the New Zealand Government is advising New Zealanders in the Ukraine to leave immediately while there are commercial flights able to get them home," Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says in a statement on Saturday.

Russia has deployed more military troops near Ukraine, with Washington saying an invasion could come at any time.

Other countries including the US are advising their residents to leave.

Mahuta says Kiwis registered on SafeTravel, a site that provides travel advice and risk assessment for New Zealanders, have been notified directly and encourages Kiwis in Ukraine that are not registered to do so.

"Aotearoa New Zealand does not have diplomatic representation in Ukraine and the government's ability to provide consular assistance to New Zealanders in Ukraine is therefore very limited," Mahuta says.

"The security situation in Ukraine could change at short notice and New Zealanders should not rely on support with evacuating in these circumstances."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is monitoring the situation in Ukraine and continues to update travel advice regularly.

New Zealanders who choose to remain in Ukraine despite the ministry's advice should ensure that their travel documents are up to date, and travel and contact details are registered on SafeTravel.

"New Zealand strongly supports ongoing international efforts to resolve the crisis diplomatically but the continuing and unprecedented build-up of Russian military forces on its border with Ukraine is deeply concerning," Mahuta says.

"Aotearoa New Zealand calls on Russia once more to take immediate steps to reduce tensions and the risk of a severe miscalculation."