This week marks one year since Russia launched its unprovoked, unjustified and unlawful invasion of Ukraine.
Three quarters of a century on from the Second World War and three decades since the Bosnian genocide, when we watch the news reports from Mariupol, Kharkiv and Bucha, it is difficult to comprehend that we are witnessing such conflict in Europe in the 21st century.
Ukraine, of course, did not start this war. Its actions are solely defensive to protect its freedom and the lives of its people. Its victory is needed not only for the Ukrainian people, but for security in Britain as well.
The strength of feeling which I felt in Crawley a year ago as I spoke in Queen’s Square in support of the people of Ukraine has not diminished. The palpable sense of injustice is still there, as is the need to address the effects of Putin’s invasion both in Ukraine and at home.
As we provide the Ukrainian people the support they need to ensure Putin fails, the UK is also galvanising the breadth and depth of British expertise.
In November I highlighted in Parliament the importance of UK military backing for Ukraine. This of course includes Thales UK, whose base in this country is in Manor Royal.
The UK has provided vital training to Ukrainian forces for nearly a decade. Britain continues to bolster our training offer for Ukrainian troops, fighter jet pilots and marines.
The Government is also right to take economic action against Putin’s regime; imposing the largest and most severe package of sanctions that Russia has ever seen. More than 1,320 individuals and entities have been sanctioned and £275 billion of assets are frozen, dealing a severe blow to the Russian economy, hobbling its military, and helping to punish Putin and his allies.
We know that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is one of the global factors which has had a considerable effect on people around the world, including here in Britain. The Government is providing £37 billion of support to people throughout our country to address cost of living pressures, which have affected every family.
The Prime Minister has established the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero: among its responsibilities will be to focus on delivering security of energy supply, ensuring properly functioning markets and greater energy efficiency.
This year, the Department will focus on easing the cost of living and delivering financial security by bringing down energy bills and keeping them down: better insulating consumers from external impacts.
Ensuring delivery in this area is a cause I will continue to pursue with the new Energy Security & Net Zero Secretary of State.
Henry Smith MP