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First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS

First published:
1 March 2022
Last updated:

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces was an unprovoked act of war.

The scenes of aggression and violence over the last week have caused the displacement of many tens of thousands of Ukrainian people from their homes and marked the onset of what could be the largest humanitarian crisis on our continent in decades.

We stand in support of the Ukrainian people who are bravely resisting this assault on their sovereignty, independence and the right to self-determination.

The Welsh Government will provide £4m in financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, which will help to provide crucial support to many who are in desperate need. Discussions are continuing to determine the best route for this aid to reach those on the ground as quickly as possible. We will also be assessing what surplus medical equipment could be usefully provided.

As a Nation of Sanctuary we stand ready to welcome people who need and want to leave Ukraine at this time. Tomorrow we will be holding urgent discussions with local authority leaders to ensure preparations are in place to accept refugees. I want to thank them for their resilience and compassion.

I have also written to the Prime Minister to urge the UK Government to strengthen the current arrangements in place to enable Ukrainian citizens to come to the UK. Ensuring they can seek safe sanctuary here – just as they can in other European nations – quickly and safely, with the minimum of bureaucracy, is vital. The UK has moral and international legal obligations to uphold the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, to which we were a founding signatory. The UK Government must recognise its duty to enable people to seek safety in situations such as those we are witnessing now.

I have asked the Prime Minister to urgently put in place simple, fast, safe and legal routes to sanctuary in the UK and to remove the biometric requirements which cause a near insurmountable bureaucratic barrier.

I understand the desire we each feel in this country to do all we can to help people of Ukraine. I would encourage anyone who is able to help to consider making a financial donation to the British Red Cross, UNICEF UK or to the UNHCR UK, rather than by making a physical donations of goods.