Like many of you I was appalled and saddened to hear on Thursday that Russia had launched an invasion into Ukraine. We have heard for months that Putin was lining thousands of troops on Ukraine’s borders, yet the fact that Europe is now at war is no less shocking. A decade on from when Ukraine hosted the Euro 2012 football tournament, it is heart breaking seeing people flee cities under siege.
I am deeply concerned about the enormous suffering that this reckless act of aggression will do to the brave people of Ukraine. I know Ukrainian residents in Lewisham East and those with family and friends in Ukraine will be distressed at the current situation. As your Member of Parliament, you can count on me to call for the UK Government to provide consular support to assist UK nationals and their families seeking to leave Ukraine. It is also right that we as a country we should provide humanitarian support to Ukraine’s neighbours to manage potential large-scale displacement and refugee flows.
In my capacity as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Secretary for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office I will help Labour to pressure the Government to inflict the hardest possible sanctions on Putin and his cronies. I will also call for the Government to bring forward Labour measures to stop the impunity that oligarchs have enjoyed in Britain.
Many families are struggling with the cost of living. Therefore, it is critical that the Government prepares for the consequences of sanctions against Russia in energy and financial markets to manage financial disruptions and shocks. Otherwise, inflationary pressures on fuel and on food and drink could cause more poverty locally and nationally.
Vladimir Putin’s invasion into Ukraine was unprovoked and unjustifiable. These actions are a threat to the international order, and so the Labour Party’s commitment to NATO is unshakeable. The coming days and months will be tough to bear for many of us. Yet we must stand up to dictators and tyrants. It is vital that we fight for the rule of law, freedom and democracy whenever it is threatened.