The scenes from the cities and villages of Ukraine have become more and more horrific in recent days.
We have seen Russia use indiscriminate force against innocent civilians. The UK Government is clear that this amounts to war crimes, and the Putin regime needs to be held accountable.
The UK has referred Russia’s assault on Ukraine to the International Criminal Court; in what is the largest referral in the Court’s history.
The international community is condemning Russia’s attempt to redraw the world map by force, with the Prime Minister in regular contact with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine, whose courage and defiance is an example to us all.
The UK’s response is ongoing with further sanctions on those close to the Putin regime announced in recent days.
The UK has been leading efforts to see Russia excluded from the SWIFT financial system. I welcome the US and EU joining Britain in action which will see a number of Russian banks cut off from this system. The UK continues to push for the full removal of Russia from SWIFT.
The Home Secretary has announced the second phase of Britain’s humanitarian support package. The Ukrainian Family Scheme significantly expands the ability of British nationals and people settled in the UK to bring family members to the UK. Direct aid assistance to help with the humanitarian needs of those refugees in neighbouring countries like Poland and Slovakia is also being provided.
Last month I was honoured to be a part of a gathering in Queen’s Square which was unanimous in its support for the people of Ukraine and condemnation of Vladimir Putin. I had the privilege of speaking at this event where I was clear about how the future of Ukraine must be taken by the citizens of that country.
In recent days I had the honour of meeting the Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK in Parliament, where British MPs made clear this country stands with the people of Ukraine.
Last week I also signed the Book of Solidarity, which the Speaker of the House of Commons will be sending to his Ukrainian counterpart. It has been right for Parliament and Crawley Borough Council to fly the Ukrainian flag with pride.
Total UK support during the Ukraine crisis has now risen to £220 million, which includes £120 million of humanitarian aid.
I know that many in Crawley will want to give their own support to the people of Ukraine, in addition to the humanitarian assistance being provided by the UK Government.
The Disasters Emergency Committee have launched their Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. Details are available online via: www.dec.org.uk with cheques accepted through the post at: DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA.
Henry Smith MP