Map of Ukraine in the colurs of their flag
Map of Ukraine in the colurs of their flag

We must be resolute to pursue a de-escalation of the very disturbing news that Russia has invaded the democratic European country of Ukraine. While the escalation of threats and violence along the Ukraine border has been deeply troubling in recent weeks, the declarations of the Donetsk and Luhansk as ‘People Republics’ by Mr. Putin after incursions earlier in the week was the first sign that Russian aggression was set to follow predictions.

Waking to hear that missiles had just fallen on Kyiv and strategic Ukraine military assets, in the early hours this morning, highlighted that Mr. Putin was intent on extending his aggression, which could lead to significant bloodshed if he does not step back from the line. Only dialogue can resolve this geopolitical dispute.

Today our focus must be on the safety and security of the people of Ukraine and out thoughts and actions must be to protect them, and ensure that the support they require is available to them. At the same time, we must acknowledge that Mr. Putin does not represent the stance of the peaceful and progressive people in Russia, many of whom will also be fearful of these latest incursions. We are proud to be a Human Rights City in York and must do all we can to support both the peaceful Ukrainian and Russian diaspora in York, and stand with them at this time. I am here to help anyone who is stuck in Ukraine to assist them to find a safe passage out, as we have been doing.

While seeking to show unity against tyranny in Parliament, Labour has been clear that the very limited sanctions the Government have brought forward against dirty Russian money has been totally insufficient to deter Mr. Putin for advancing his political strategy and that Government should ensure sanctions are robust and proportionate. Labour’s calls have been backed by the other political parties and many on the Government’s side, and it now looks like Government have heeded Labour’s call.

None of us want to see fighting and bloodshed, we must act with wisdom and listen carefully to avoid an escalation to full scale war. I want to hear from people across York as they too, absorb this sobering news and analyse how we can best avoid the very worst of what could occur. De-escalation and peace must always be our focus; I pray for both

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