New Zealand is likely to impose sanctions against Crimea as Russia moves to formally annex the country, the Prime Minister says.

John Key told TV3's The Nation today it was still receiving advise from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade around the issue.

"But I think it's likely we'll move in the way that other like minded countries have," he said.

The action could include travel sanctions.


"Not unlike what we did with Fiji, so there will be travel restrictions likely to be applied to those that we closely associate with the activities in Crimea."

Mr Key also said free trade negotiations with Russia would be postponed for the "short term".

"The reality's it would be a very odd step for New Zealand to be continuing free trade discussions with Russia at a time where you're seeing people potentially taking sanctions of some sort against Crimea, essentially people, including New Zealand publicly voicing our real concerns about what we see."

Mr Key ruled out military action against Russia.

"I don't think anyone would really want to go there - that historically hasn't been proven to be the right way to go," he said.

"You're seeing like-minded countries of New Zealand starting to apply certain sanctions and travel restrictions around Crimea and those involved in the most recent changes, you're certainly seeing a lot of pressure being heaped on."