Ukraine: A Year on from the Invasion

David TC Davies reflects on the one year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and on the UK and Wales’ involvement in support of Ukraine

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since we witnessed with sheer horror our world being plunged into an existential crisis by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The last year has seen millions of Ukrainian lives turned upside down by the unprovoked conflict. Women, men, children have all been indiscriminately targeted by Putin’s barbaric war machine and have consequently seen their homes destroyed, their families separated, and their lives shattered.

And still blood is being spilled in Ukraine, all because of the reckless actions of one man, Vladimir Putin.

One consolation to date is how many countries have stepped up to provide support to Ukraine, and we in the United Kingdom have led the way in doing so.

It’s a tragedy that, in the 21st Century, some 16 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian aid.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak continues to deliver impressive results. The UK was the first country to send main battle tanks to Ukraine – a real game changing move, and many of our other allies followed.

This bold move is in addition to our action to cut off the funds to Putin’s war machine, by imposing crippling sanctions on more than 1,320 Russian individuals and entities –and freezing £275 billion-worth of assets.

Moreover, humanitarian aid to the sum of £220 million has poured from the UK to Ukraine, with the UK delivering a huge amount of support to help the most vulnerable including medical supplies and ambulances.

It’s a tragedy that, in the 21st Century, some 16 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian aid.
Our history demonstrates that the UK will always rise to the most challenging crises of the day. 

That is why the UK Government has issued tens of thousands of visas for Ukrainians, through our uncapped Ukraine schemes, and we remain open to support those in need of our protection, like we have done with those from Afghanistan, Syria, and Hong Kong. 

Syniadau uchelgeisiol, awdurdodol a mentrus.
Ymunwch â ni i gyfrannu at wneud Cymru gwell.

At present, 3,392 Ukrainians have settled in Wales, thanks to the UK Government’s robust Ukraine Family Scheme and Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme. These Ukrainians are integrated into our society and have found jobs and started businesses here in Wales, with several Ukrainian children even speaking the Welsh language!

During Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s historic visit to London, the UK Government announced that we will extend our extensive training programme for Ukrainian soldiers to cover pilots, too. Without doubt, the UK’s efforts – both before and after the full-scale Russian invasion – in strengthening Ukrainian defences have played a direct role in Russia suffering many strategic setbacks.
I would encourage anyone who questions whether the UK is playing a leading role to read the words of the former Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, who, as Russia’s invasion began to stall, said: “I thank every British instructor who helped me to make Ukraine stronger. The ability to stop Putin is not only our achievement, this is an achievement for the British soldiers, officers who worked shoulder to shoulder with us to prepare Ukraine’s armed forces”, adding “the result is impressive”.

The former president was referring to Operation ORBITAL which was launched in 2015 following the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea. The operation involved the UK training tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops, in addition to British loans enabling the Ukrainian navy to redevelop its shore infrastructure and generate new naval capabilities, including the transfer of Sandown class minehunters and the sale of missile boats. Following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, we shifted our training to take place in the UK rather than Ukraine – and British soldiers have trained over 11,000 Ukrainians since. 
It’s crystal-clear that the UK, and indeed Wales, is solidly on the side of Ukraine – and that will not change.

As the Prime Minister succinctly said: “The United Kingdom will always be on the side of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”

We will not rest until Ukraine is freed from the shackles of Putin.

Freedom will always win. Slava Ukraini!

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David TC Davies is the Member of Parliament for Monmouth and Secretary of State for Wales. He is also a fluent Welsh speaker.

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