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The Situation in Ukraine

 
 

Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

A dangerous man is president of Russia. Do not blame or hate ordinary Russians.

 

Were there to be free and fair election there, we could imagine a decisive defeat for Putin and his evil intentions.

Ukraine is not far away. This is more than "a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing". The consequences can be far-reaching.  

 

It is part of the European continent: it is a neighbour and it is a friend.

 

Like most of the rest of Europe, Ukraine is a democracy. Most of its people do not want their country to become part of Russia. 

Today's escalation of conflict including the genuine invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces shows clear intent.

The Prime Minister has described Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as hideous and barbaric and pledged 'massive sanctions to hobble Russian economy'. 

Further response is necessary.

It is now clear that President Putin does not wish for there to be a distinct Ukraine state. 

I supported calls for an Emergency Debate in the Commons at the very beginning of the invasion to ensure the British response was proportionate and unequivocal. There is always more that the United Kingdom can do in support of a free Ukraine.

The UK has been in a fortunate position in Europe as the country with the lowest dependency on Russian Gas supplies. Other countries rely more heavily on Russian Gas: Finland at 94%; Germany at 49%; Italy at 46%; Poland at 40% and France at 24%. The UK is <2%. 

 

The United Kingdom is most able to challenge the dangerous actions and intentions of Putin. Respect our allies who are taking expensive decisions.

Many have seen this coming. Many have done what is possible to deescalate and prevent conflict. 

Those who a weeks ago said the leaders of the Western Alliance misunderstood President Putin are wrong. 

Those who thought the approaching crisis could be resolved by Ukraine denying itself the possibility of ever-growing closer to the Western and Free Alliances were wrong. 

A safer future required western nations to cooperate, to stand together and to be prepared to pay the price for mutual aid and defence. 

We cannot erode the vision of a Europe whole and free; one that emerged from the devastation of two terrible World Wars and the prolonged division of the Cold War. How we respond can reverberate across the globe. Beijing will be watching closely as it hopes to reunify Taiwan with mainland China.  

My constituents will expect me to encourage and to back resolute, united U.K. leadership.

Have confidence that this continues to be the case.

 

01 March 2022

Update on the UK's Response to Ukraine:

Diplomatic and Economic Response:

 

The United Kingdom was at the forefront of international sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

 

More than 100 individuals and entities have been added to the UK sanctions list, in what the Prime Minister has described as the “largest-ever” set of financial measures against Moscow designed to have the greatest effect on Russia's global economic security.

 

The Foreign Secretary has promised that a further 570 names – elected politicians from the Duma and the Federation Council – will soon be added to the list.

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an asset freeze against all major Russian banks, including an immediate freeze on VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank. The government has also sanctioned five banks: Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank.

 

Aeroflot planes are banned from landing in the UK and any aircraft registered in Russia is banned from British airspace.

 

An immediate ban has been placed on all exports of goods that could have military use, such as electrical components and truck parts. Further legislation is in the works to prohibit a range of technology exports such as those used for aircrafts, power generation and the military.

 

Legislation has been presented to target illicit Russian money in the UK alongside communication between nations to prevent international financial transactions involving the Russian Central Bank, National Wealth Fund and Ministry of Finance. Further responses from the international community, led by the United Kingdom, has included cutting "selected" Russian banks out of the SWIFT global payment system.

 

Economic sanctions have been designed to harm Russia's ability to finance its war in Ukraine rather than to harm the citizens of Russia who are not to blame for the reckless pursuits of the President.

 

 

Humanitarian and Defensive Aid:

 

The UK has stepped up its support to the people of Ukraine again over the weekend with the announcement of £40 million of further humanitarian aid to the country.

 

The funding will help aid agencies respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, creating a lifeline for Ukrainians with access to basic necessities and medical supplies such as medicines, syringes, dressings and wound care packs. UK Government humanitarian experts have also deployed to the region to support those fleeing the violence in Ukraine.

 

The United Kingdom has long been providing defensive aid and intelligence to Ukraine. In January, before the Russian invasion had begun, the Defence Secretary announced the decision to supply Ukraine with light anti-armour defensive weapon systems. For several months, the United Kingdom and United States intelligence offices had been providing in-depth analysis and have been warning of the imminent threat of a Russian Invasion.

 

Last week, the Prime Minister promised further military support to Ukraine, including lethal defensive weapons. The Ministry of Defence is now coordinating ways to deliver further military aid to Ukraine without it falling into Russian hands.

 

 

Visas, Immigration and Refugees:

 

The UK has opened multiple official routes for Ukrainians who are not dependents of British nationals.

 

Whilst diplomatic services in Kyiv have been forced to relocate due to Russia's siege on the city, the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Lviv remains open as are centres in neighbouring countries which remain accessible for all Ukrainians. The priority remains to deal with family members of UK nationals in Ukraine as is the priority of every other country.

 

VACs across the regional network have also received additional staff and resources to assist. In addition to the already established VACs in Poland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary, an emergency pop-up is being set up in Rzeszow, on the border Polish with Ukraine.

 

The Family Migration route remains the easiest option for those with immediate family links to the United Kingdom. The scheme is free and centres across the region are fully equipped to process applications immediately. Those in Ukraine wishing to apply should call +44 (0) 300 3032785 for assistance.

 

The Home Secretary has announced that work is being undertaken to enable Ukrainians permanently settled in the UK to stay and to be able to bring their family members through the Family Migration route.

 

10 March 2022

Visa and Refugee Update

The Home Secretary has announced that visa applications will be fully completable online making them accessible from wherever an applicant may be and removing the need of journeying to Visa Application Centres before travelling to the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, the requirement for the provision of biometric information, such as fingerprints and photographs, is to be delayed to once Ukrainians have reached the United Kingdom.

Digitisation and simplification of the application process is very welcome. It removes one of the largest hurdles for those wishing to reach the United Kingdom whilst fleeing the violence and aggression of Putin in Ukraine.

There is always room for improvement.

I have written to the Home Secretary to ask how the Government is working alongside charities and philanthropic businesses to simplify support provision and charity resources.

Many constituents have been in touch with hopes that a central digital database could be provided to list local individuals and organisations wishing to provide accommodation and support for incoming Ukrainian refugees.

I made this simple and helpful suggestion to the Home Secretary.

We pray for the people of Ukraine and for an end to this devastating act of aggression from the President of Russia. 

 

08 March 2022

World Bank and IMF Response to Ukraine Crisis

Ahead of the G7 meeting concerning the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, I have joined with colleagues in calling upon the Shareholders, Boards and Leadership of the World Bank and IMF to coordinate together a rapid six-point plan to mobilise the maximum possible support for Ukraine in coordination with Ukraine's authorities:


1. Maximise rapid deployment of IMF resourcing through the Stand-By Arrangement, including but if necessary moving beyond the outstanding sum of US$2.2 billion.

2. Mobilise IMF emergency financing through the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) including but not limited to Ukraine's IMF quota of $28 billion

3. Mobilize the World Bank Global Crisis Risk Platform to rapidly understand the economic and social impacts of the invasion of Ukraine and to share this publicly as a matter of urgency

4. Set out clearly and quickly the scale of World Bank fast-disbursing financing and technical support to Ukraine

5. Rapidly deploy World Bank support to Ukraine's neighbours to help secure support for what might be four million refugees.

6. Deploy World Bank and IMF mechanisms to help countries overcome the negative economic effects of this crisis, particularly concerning the rising prices of food commodities and energy costs.


The foundation of the IMF and World Bank in 1944 presaged the creation of the United Nations a year later. Each shares a common inspiration: to build a world of peace and security.

 

In this moment of crisis, it is imperative that we stand strong in our determination to ensure that this founding spirit may continue to serve as a beacon of hope to the world.

The full letter can be viewed here.

 

02 March 2022

Letter to the Prime Minister

I have written with concern to the Prime Minister noting that, though the Ukrainian people continue to stand steadfast in the face of Russian aggression, we must help those fleeing the country out of fear for their lives and to escape from the Russian invaders’ deadly force.

It is abundantly clear that this is a conflict not like any other in recent history. Ukrainians wish to defend the freedom and sovereignty of their country, this is not a question of migration, it is an issue of protecting lives and enabling safe havens for those able to escape the conflict.

We must continue to be unequivocal and unwavering in our support for the free people of Ukraine.

Below is the full text of the letter:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
Prime Minister’s Office
10 Downing Street
SW1A 2AA

 

02nd March 2022

Dear Prime Minister,
 

The United Kingdom has been at the forefront of international sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine thanks to the leadership of this Government.

Alongside our continued provision to Ukraine of defensive military equipment and supplies, including medical supplies, the deepening economic sanctions make clear our deep support for the free people of Ukraine.

I write with concern that, though the Ukrainian people continue to stand steadfast in the face of Russian aggression, we must help those fleeing the country out of fear for their lives and to escape from the Russian invaders’ deadly force.

With appreciation of the great amount of support we have already offered, I write to urge yourself and your government to provide as much support as possible to the nations most able to offer the first safe havens for Ukrainian refugees: Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia. I echo the calls of many colleagues in hoping that Ministers will continue to seek a flexible and pragmatic approach to those Ukrainians wishing to seek temporary refuge in the United Kingdom until it is safe for them to return to their homes in Ukraine.

It is abundantly clear that this is a conflict not like any other in recent history. Ukrainians wish to defend the freedom and sovereignty of their country, this is not a question of migration, it is an issue of protecting lives and enabling safe havens for those able to escape the conflict.

We must continue to be unequivocal in our support for the free people of Ukraine.

My constituents expect me to encourage and to back resolute, united U.K. leadership.

I have confidence that this continues to be the case.

Khay zhyve vilʹna Ukrayina – may she live a free Ukraine.


Sir Peter Bottomley MP
Father of the House
Member of Parliament for Worthing West

 
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Ukraine Matters to Us All

Thursday 24th February 2022

A dangerous man is president of Russia. Do not blame or hate ordinary Russians.

 

We can expect he would lose the next free and fair election there.

 

This is more than "a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing". The consequences can be far-reaching.  

 

Ukraine is not far away. It is part of the European continent. It is a neighbour; it is a friend. Like most of the rest of Europe, Ukraine is a democracy. Most of its people do not want their country to become part of Russia. 

 

We know a working democracy transforms the lives of people below the elites and stabilises a turbulent world. Healthy elements of democracy do good: free media, fair courts, honest elections and the freedom to criticise government and rulers.

 

Acts of terror that undermined the growing prosperity in Tunisia, in Egypt and more recently in Sri Lanka were by people who cared little for the lives of ordinarypeople seeking stability, prosperity and freedoms. Some of the most tense places in the world are on the peripheries of autocracies like Russia, China, Vietnam and North Korea. 

 

The 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant theorised that no good democracy would go to war with another. There are few real wars between democracies. National government should not think itself immune from the electorate’s verdict.  War and conflict are sometimes the last resort for autocratic leaders like president Putin, clinging to power. 

 

In January, after weeks of prolonged support and deliveries of supplies, the phrase "God Save the Queen" began trending on Twitter across Ukraine. Some bars and restaurants in Kyiv were offering free drinks to anyone who had a UK passport. As a friend and ally, we have a moral obligation to support the people of Ukraine. The UK also has a legal duty to support Ukraine's territorial integrity.  

 

In 1994, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom signed the Budapest memorandum which promised to respect and protect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine. We must stand by our commitment as should other signatories: the United States and, surprisingly, Russia. Do look it up. 

 

We cannot erode the vision of a Europe whole and free; one that emerged from the devastation of two terrible World Wars and the prolonged division of the Cold War. How we respond can reverberate across the globe. Beijing will be watching closely as it hopes to reunify Taiwan with mainland China.  

 

Some may decry economic ulterior motives. The UK is in a fortunate position in Europe as the country with the lowest dependency on Russian Gas supplies. Other countries rely more heavily on Russian Gas: Finland at 94%; Germany at 49%; Italy at 46%; Poland at 40% and France at 24%. The UK is <2%. 

 

The United Kingdom is most able to challenge the dangerous actions and intentions of Putin and the destabilising aspirations of others like Xi Jinping. Respect our allies who are taking expensive decisions. 

 

The post-war international settlement owes much to the Foreign Secretary in the Labour government. Ernest Bevin had a life worth remembering. At the Workers Travel Association, the Priory in Nettlestone on the Isle of Wight, he drafted his influential speech that led to the Western European Union, the precursor to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation with its political and military arms.

 

With the main exception that followed some mistakes as the former Yugoslavia broke apart, NATO helped to keep peace, to deter war and to lead at least indirectly to many countries in central and eastern Europe joining non-Soviet organisations.

 

It is a shame Russia did not make the same choices.  

 

A quarrel in a far-away country may be nearer than we first think. Albert Camus is right,  "Democracy is not the law of the majority but the protection of the minority."