President Putin has unleashed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by land, sea and air. This is a premeditated and wholly unprovoked attack on a sovereign democratic state.
The will, grit and determination of the Ukrainian people has been remarkable and Putin’s forces are feeling the brunt of this.
Sadly, their tactics are starting to become more barbaric and indiscriminate in nature as a result.
However, their evil will not win and it is right that this Government is doing all it can to support Ukraine in their hour of need.
So what has the UK has done so far and will continue to do to help Ukraine, it’s people and it’s military?
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the West has moved to impose the most severe and coordinated package of sanctions Russia has ever faced in response to Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
In lockstep with allies around the world, the UK is:
- Sanctioning Russia’s Central Bank, banning the Russian State and banning over 3 million Russian companies from raising funds in the UK, and freezing the assets of all Russian banks. (£258 Billion so far)
- Shutting off Russian banks’ access to the global financial system by blocking access to SWIFT.
- Sanctioning President Putin, his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, leading oligarchs. In total 228 individuals, entities and their subsidiaries have been sanctioned.
- Sanctioning members of the Russian Duma and National Security Council for their support for the invasion.
- Banning Aeroflot, Russia’s national airline, and all other Russian commercial and private jets from UK airspace.
- Denying access to UK ports to ships owned, controlled, charter of operated by anyone connected to Russia as well as any vessel registered in Russia or flying the Russian flag.
- Imposing new restrictions to cut off wealthy Russians’ access to UK banks.
- Imposing sanctions on Belarus for its complicity in Putin’s invasion.
- Extending a Crimea-type embargo to occupied territory in the breakaway Ukrainian republics.
- Intensifying sanctions enforcement, with new powers for law enforcement and a specialised Kleptocracy unit to crack down on companies that breach sanctions.
- Bringing forward measures from the Economic Crime Bill early which strengthen Unexplained Wealth Orders and broaden their scope, cracking down on corrupt elites in the UK.
The UK has, for a number of years now, worked to support Ukraine’s security and defence. This includes the training of over 22,000 members of the Ukrainian army through Operation ORBITAL
In the months prior to the invasion, the UK provided extra support in the form of 2000 anti-armour missiles, which the Ukrainians are now putting to good use.
The UK has now sent further military support (lethal aid in the form of defensive weapons, and non-lethal aid such as body armour and helmets) to Ukraine since the invasion.
The scenes unfolding in Ukraine are creating a humanitarian disaster not seen in Europe since the Second World War.
It is estimated that over 2 million people have now fled the country with this expected to rise north of 5 million people.
The Prime Minister recently announced that the UK is committing another £80m in aid to Ukraine to save lives and protect vulnerable people.
After the £100m economic package for Ukraine and £40m in humanitarian aid announced in February, this brings the UK’s overall aid support for Ukraine during the current crisis to £220 million.
The UK is also guaranteeing up to $500 million of loans to Ukraine through Multilateral Development Banks.
The Government is matching the first £20 million donated by the British public to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
Many constituents have also been in touch regarding refugees and how they can help.
The new expansive Ukrainian Family Scheme which will enable British nationals and Ukrainians already settled in the UK to bring a wider group of family members to the country, extending eligibility to parents, grandparents, adult offspring and siblings.
This offer broadens the original package beyond immediate family members which formed part of the first phase of the Government’s humanitarian response.
The Government is also establishing a humanitarian sponsorship pathway, which will open up a route to the UK for Ukrainians who may not have family ties with the UK but who are able to match with individuals, charities, businesses, and community groups.
Those who come under this scheme will also be granted leave for an initial period of 12 months and will be able to work and access public services.
Details of the scheme and how you can apply will be published shortly by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
I know many good-willed people of North Herefordshire have already been in touch offering their homes to escaping Ukrainians.
As soon as I hear more on this scheme, I will provide an update.
Putin must fail. I am assured that the UK Government, standing alongside our friends in Ukraine and allies around the world, using all possible means at its disposal, is urgently engaged in ensuring he does.
I am following these efforts closely and I will continue to update this page when more information becomes available.
Update 15 March 2022
The scheme has now launched, for more information on how to record your interest in the scheme, please visit: https://homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk/