Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt.
The unprovoked invasion of Ukraine continues to escalate – as does the dire humanitarian crisis, which has resulted in the displacement of almost a million people in just seven days.
We reiterate our unequivocal solidarity with the Ukrainian people in the face of Putin’s aggression.
This week we have set in train a wide range of support in response to the evolving humanitarian crisis. I want to thank officials, local authorities, the third sector, faith leaders, and the public for their rapid and robust response. They continue to reaffirm that Wales truly is a Nation of Sanctuary.
Following our announcement at the start of the week that we would be providing £4m in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, I can confirm this will be donated to the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC), which represents 15 major aid charities. Allocating the funding in this way will ensure it reaches those who need it as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
On Wednesday, the Minister for Finance and Local Government and I met with the leader of the Welsh Local Government Association, leaders of local authorities from across Wales and the third sector to discuss preparedness to accept people escaping the violence in Ukraine. There was a unanimous determination to offer all support possible.
There was praise for the generosity of the Welsh public, who have been eager to donate and support the people of Ukraine. However, donations of physical goods is presenting logistical difficulties both here and abroad. We urge people who want to donate – and are able to – to make a financial donation to the Disaster Emergency Committee’s appeal.
We are exploring options to ensure support can be provided here in Wales when Ukrainian citizens begin to arrive. We will provide further updates in due course. A dedicated page on our website has been set up setting out how people can help and sources of support for people directly affected by the war in Ukraine.
We remain in close contact with the UK Government to understand how its proposed visa schemes will operate and how Wales can play a full part.
We are working with other public bodies in Wales to identify and take action on any investments held associated with the Russian state.
There is no question the responsibility for this unprovoked aggression in Ukraine lies squarely with Putin and not with the people of Russia.
In Wales, there are valued community members of Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarussian origin and we must ensure our words and actions protect their safety. I echo the words of Mick Antoniw MS who paid tribute to the brave Russian students and young people who have been protesting across the Russian Federation. They are the real future of Russia.