Thangam Debbonaire meets President Zelensky
Thangam Debbonaire meets President Zelensky

This week marks one year since Putin’s barbaric and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

I am proud that the UK is united in support of Ukraine and that strength is bolstered by NATO and European allies working in concert to provide support.

A few weeks ago, I was honoured to listen to the speech to Parliament by President Zelensky, the brave head of state for Ukraine, and to meet and talk with him personally afterwards. We talked of the importance of standing firm with our allies against aggression and how important that is for peace and freedom worldwide.

As Keir reiterated face to face with President Zelensky, with a General Election there may be a change to a Labour government but there will be no change to Britain’s resolve in confronting Russia’s aggression and standing with Ukraine.

We cannot stand by and allow Russia to take Ukraine. As President Zelensky said himself, standing up to Russia is so important, because it sends a clear message to any aggressor “who will try to push boundaries by force, who will inflict destruction on other peoples, who will try to endure his dictatorship at the expense of other people’s blood in criminal and unprovoked wars.” Ukraine is a democracy, with democratically elected leaders and a population who are standing strong in the face of this aggression. The least we can do is to support them.

With a constituent and her family from Ukraine whom we helped get to safety in the UK
With a constituent and her family from Ukraine whom we helped get to safety in the UK

President Zelensky met UK and EU politicians to ask us for more help to defend Ukraine. I know the government is considering the UK’s response and the Labour party stands ready to work with them to help Ukraine.

There is more the UK can do. Last month I asked the government for a debate on using seized Russian assets to help rebuild Ukrainian infrastructure and provide much needed humanitarian aid to the country. The EU and Canada have already said they will do this. Why is our government lagging? Britain must never be a soft touch for corrupt oligarchs and warlords to hide their ill-gotten wealth.

I am proud that the UK is part of NATO’s defensive alliance. Countries join of their own volition because they are rightly afraid of Russian aggression. If the UK were ever to be invaded, I am glad we have allies who would be there to help us and this means that we have to be ready to honour our commitment to those allies who need us.

Casework on Ukraine

  • My office and I have helped almost 100 constituents with loved ones or sponsored asylum seekers in Ukraine, with visas and travel support, to get out of the war zone safely. I don’t always get to meet the people we have helped. So it was an amazing experience to run into a Ukrainian family in Bristol last year whom we had helped with a complicated visa application process (see picture above).
  • I and my staff have also responded to over 450 emails and letters from constituents concerned about the war or asking for clarity about the visa schemes available to Ukrainian refugees.
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