Over the past weeks Parliament, our country and the world have come together to condemn and oppose the attack on the values of freedom and democracy in Ukraine as Russia rolls out its military might to subjugate and suppress the Ukrainian people.
Whilst the conflict is not on our immediate doorstep, it does remind us of our place in this globally interconnected world. From our residents with loved ones in Ukraine desperately concerned at the deteriorating situation to the numerous local businesses who export goods and services to these regions…. the ripples of this war will be felt across all areas of the UK, including Stockport.
The Russian assault on Ukraine has been looming for several months now, but until the past few weeks it was hoped the build-up of troops on Ukraine’s border was more of a threat than an action. This alone was a blatant act of aggression, violating the territorial integrity of a European nation in the same way Putin did with Crimea in 2014. However, over the past week he has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine…an invasion by a permanent member of the UN Security Council into a democratic, sovereign, European nation which presented no threat and wanted only to live peacefully.
The UK is leading the charge to bring the conflict to an end. The Prime Minister has worked with our allies to impose the most severe and coordinated package of sanctions Russia has ever faced. These sanctions include freezing the assets of all Russian banks and preventing Russian companies from borrowing on UK markets, to sanctioning individuals known to support Putin and denying Russia’s national airline access to UK airspace.
The Government continues to push for a full exclusion of Russia from SWIFT (a vital global payments system), a move which has been used before when Iran was disconnected in 2012 as a sanction for their nuclear weapons system. It is believed that as a result, Iran lost almost half of their oil exports revenues and 30 per cent of foreign trade. This sanction could be equally devastating for Russia.
Closer to home our wonderful local community groups and Churches are coming together to organise collections and donations to support the humanitarian efforts underway by the Government and national aid organisations.
People in Cheadle want to help but are also telling me how concerned and worried they are that the conflict could escalate, drawing us into war. Our efforts to end the conflict will not include the sending of UK servicemen and women to Ukraine and the UK and NATO members have been clear in their intention to ensure that UK & NATO forces personnel will not be deployed in this conflict.
At the time of writing Kyiv is under siege and may fall. It is shocking to see people in a modern European city like Kyiv forced to flee their country because of Russia’s actions, and I echo the words of the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, in saying ‘we stand with Ukraine, in its hour of need’.”