It is devastating to see Putin continue to escalate his bloody conflict, as more evidence emerges of the horrific atrocities taking place against the Ukrainian people.
With the violence continuing to worsen – and Russia accused of war crimes – it is vital that the West stands strong in its condemnation of Putin’s war and its support for the people of Ukraine.
I am proud that the UK is playing a leading role, as we step up our military support for Ukraine, urge our Nato allies to do the same and continue to tighten economic sanctions.
At the same time, as an open and welcoming country we need to support those fleeing the horrors of war. As ever, I have been heartened by Hertsmere’s response. I recently met the Ukrainian refugees who are being housed by Hilton Elstree to hear about their experiences fleeing Ukraine and offer my support. I am working closely with the Home Office and local councils to ensure they have the support they need. Our borough and county councils led by Cllr Morris Bright, who joined me in meeting them, are doing the same.
I know many Hertsmere residents are generously opening their homes to Ukrainians in their hour of need through the Homes for Ukraine scheme. I continue to support these efforts as well as pressing in government for this scheme and the family visa programme to be sped up, so that we can act as quickly as possible to welcome to our country those who are forced to flee their homeland.
I’m sure every one of us has been watching the suffering in Ukraine and thinking what we would do and how we would react if we were there. Every day I am thankful for the peace and stability we enjoy here but know this requires our continued commitment to our defence, and to European peace and security. And in our determined response and the generosity of spirit demonstrated by so many Hertsmere residents, I hope we are showing the commitment to the people of Ukraine that we would want of them.