Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern slams Vladimir Putin, makes anti-nuclear plea in UN General Assembly speech

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made an anti-nuclear plea to world leaders during her speech at the UN General Assembly on Friday (local time).

"The only way to guarantee our people that they will be safe from the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons is for them not to exist," Ardern said in her address.

She also criticised Russia for invading Ukraine.

"Let us all be clear. Russia's war is illegal. It is immoral," she said. "It is a direct attack on the UN Charter and the international rules-based system and everything that this community should stand for."

On Thursday, Australia and New Zealand condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's escalation of the war in Ukraine - saying his threats to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia were "unthinkable" and exposed his justification for the war as untrue.

This year's General Assembly has been dominated by the Russia-Ukraine war, with the likes of US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Liz Truss also using their addresses to take aim at Putin.

New Zealand has consistently condemned Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February. The Government passed new legislation allowing it to sanction individuals and businesses connected to the war, and has also offered up humanitarian assistance to Kyiv.

Reuters / Newshub.