New Zealand offers residency to Ukrainians fleeing war

AUCKLAND (AFP): New Zealand on Saturday announced a new pathway to residency for people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Permanent residency will be available to people who travel to New Zealand on the temporary Special Ukraine Visa before March 15 next year, Immigration Minister Andrew Little said.

“Many of those who sought safety here in New Zealand would never have anticipated being here long term, but as war continues we have a humanitarian obligation to provide certainty to them.

“We’re making it as simple as possible to apply for the residence pathway.”

To maximise accessibility, applicants will not need to sit a language test, have access to suitable funds nor require sponsorship.

More than 1,500 Special Ukraine Visas have so far been granted since the special category was set up last year as part of the government’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia downs drone approaching Moscow

Russian air defences destroyed a drone as it approached Moscow, the city’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin said early on Saturday.

“Tonight, air defense forces destroyed a drone on approach to Moscow in the Istrinskii district,” Sobyanin wrote on Telegram.

“Preliminarily, there were no casualties or damage. Emergency services are working on the site,” he added.

Moscow was rarely targeted during the early stages of the conflict in Ukraine though attacks have mounted of late.

The capital and other Russian regions have been targeted by a barrage of Ukrainian drone attacks in recent days after Kyiv vowed earlier this summer to “return” the conflict to Russia.

In the Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine, authorities said three civilians were killed by Kyiv’s forces on Wednesday.

That same day, a drone crashed into a skyscraper in a Moscow business district and smashed a window, without causing any casualties, according to authorities.

It was the sixth consecutive night the Moscow region had been targeted by drone strikes.