Mr Stephen Metcalfe MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock – Statement on Ukraine
Updated Statement on Ukraine, first statement published on Thursday 3rd March 2022.
We have all seen the horrific images of the war in Ukraine which has been caused by the depravity of Vladimir Putin and, for the sake of Ukraine, Russia and the world – Putin must fail.
We must all continue to come together across the globe to condemn these war crimes and stop the barbarism of Putin’s regime and bring back peace to Ukraine.
At this difficult time my thoughts continue to be with the brave people of Ukraine. I and the whole of the UK stand fully behind the Prime Minister’s full support for Ukraine and it is assuring to see the global condemnation of these illegal actions by Russia.
Last week we welcomed President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Parliament. This was the first foreign leader to address the House of Commons via video link and his impassioned speech showed the world that the UK is leading the way on supporting Ukraine.
The Government has committed over £400 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine. As well as coordinating the global community to deliver long-term support for Ukraine through the ‘International Ukraine Support Group’.
On a personal note, my office has also been directly involved in assisting constituents with relatives in Ukraine ensure their loved ones have safe passage to the UK.
The Home Office has put in place a comprehensive package of support measures for those fleeing Ukraine and Ukrainians already in the UK.
In addition to the measures as laid out in my previous statement it has been announced that there will be no cap on the number of genuine refugees who can enter the UK from Ukraine.
The Home Office are taking a sensible approach which is pragmatic and agile. Ukrainians with Passports will now be able to apply for entry into the UK online, meaning they can apply from anywhere and can then undertake biometric tests once they arrive.
Whilst we are doing everything to assist Ukraine it must be noted that Russian troops are attempting to infiltrate and merge with Ukrainian forces. Given this, alongside Putin’s willingness to inflict violence on UK mainland, as we have seen in the past, it would not be appropriate to suspend all security or biometric checks.
Many people have expressed interest in assisting personally with housing Ukrainian refugees and today the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme is being announced. This will allow people to support refugees who are seeking safety in the UK.
Sponsors will be able to nominate a named Ukrainian individual or family to stay with them in their home. Once this scheme goes live there will be a dedicated website for people to apply to help.
Whilst the horrendous attacks we have seen on hospitals in Ukraine are horrifying to see, the Health Secretary has assisted over the weekend in bringing 21 children with cancer to the UK so that they can continue to receive treatment here.
There is so much that we all wish and want to be able to do and whilst in any war zone there will inevitably be causalities it is only right that the Government are continuing to do everything within their power to assist Ukrainian refugees.
The total number of Russian politicians to have been sanctioned is now 400 and since Russia invaded Ukraine the UK has sanctioned an additional 500 of Russia’s most significant and high value individuals, entities and subsidiaries.
In my last statement on Ukraine I called for further individual sanctions and it is welcome to see 18 of Russia’s leading oligarchs having their assets frozen and being issued with travel bans – this is a combined sanction on over £30 billion worth of assets.
No Fly Zone
I still support all diplomatic routes to end the conflict, the Prime Minister has stated that imposing a no fly-zone over Ukraine would directly bring NATO forces into war with Russia.
Whilst no option should ever be off the table, the consequences of a potential nuclear war are clear. This conflict will lead to a rethink of our collective security against Russia, for the time being I believe we are taking the right approach in our sanctions against Russia, our diplomatic efforts to end the conflict as well as our humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
This is a fast-moving conflict and therefore our response must be adaptable – we must continue to follow developments closely and I know that Government Ministers are working around the clock to ensure the UK is fully utilising every asset we have in assisting the people of Ukraine.
Disclaimer: All information is relevant and up to date as of publication. This information is subject to change and I will endeavour to update as the situation develops.