Ukraine conflict

Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is an unprovoked attack on a sovereign, democratic nation. It is right that the UK takes decisive action to support the Ukrainian government in the face of this assault on their sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia must be isolated diplomatically and financially.

The Prime Minister is speaking to President Zelensky on a regular basis to reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine to bring an end to this unjust war. The Prime Minister also visited President Zelensky in Kyiv - a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people. The UK also continues to convene discussions with our allies and partners to coordinate a response.

I want to stress that our response is evolving on a daily basis and I will be updating this post to reflect the action that we are taking and how residents of West Berkshire can get involved.

Military Response:

UK intelligence made clear that an unlawful invasion of Ukraine was highly probable from the end of last year. As a result, the UK was the first of the Western Allies to supply anti-tank weapons from January and is now working closely with the Ukrainian leadership to increase its supply of weapons and protective equipment to the Ukrainian frontline. On top of what has already been supplied, we are now providing an additional 6,000 missiles, consisting of anti-tank and high explosive weapons, more than doubling the defensive lethal aid we have provided to more than 10,000 missiles–alongside £25 million in support for the Ukrainian military, to help them pay salaries and purchase new equipment.

Royal Navy ships have been deployed to the eastern Mediterranean and British Army troops and armoured vehicles to Estonia with equipment and around 1000 troops will be arriving over the coming days. This will lead to a doubling of UK presence in Estonia, where the UK leads a NATO battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s enhanced Forward Presence. 

I have been asked why NATO is not sending in troops or imposing a ‘no-fly’ zone over Ukraine. The reason for this is that neither the UK nor any of its NATO allies wishes to risk a dangerous escalation of hostilities at this point.

Following the Prime Minister's visit to Kyiv, he spoke with US President Joe Biden about the situation in Ukraine and agreed to accelerate military support. The Prime Minister and President Biden agreed to continue bolstering military and economic support for Ukraine, including through our new package of anti-ship missiles and military vehicles.

Sanctions:

The Government has launched an unprecedented package of sanctions alongside our international partners.

On 26 February, the UK, EU, and US moved to remove Russian banks from the SWIFT banking system. This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally.

On 1 March Government has announced its intention to take additional restrictive economic measures by targeting the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR). This action, in conjunction with the US and the EU, will prevent the CBR from deploying its foreign reserves in ways that undermine the impact of the sanctions imposed. The UK Government will take all necessary steps to bring into effect restrictions to prohibit any UK natural or legal persons from undertaking financial transactions involving the CBR, the Russian National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

Emergency legislation commenced its pathway through Parliament on the 1 March with rigorous financial restrictions including export controls, sovereign debt and security measures. 

On 2 March the Business Secretary announced that overseas companies listed as having a property in the UK will have to declare the human beneficiary or be prohibited from selling and face a prison sentence of up to five years.

On 3 March, the UK has sanctioned 10 oligarchs including two prominent and particularly close associates of Vladimir Putin, Alisher Usmanov and Igor Shuvalov. The Foreign Secretary has pledged to go even further – targeting more kleptocrats with restrictions, ensuring there is nowhere left to hide for those with links to the Kremlin.

On 9 March, new powers were announced by the Foreign Secretary to detain Russian aircraft in the UK and remove aircraft belonging to designated individuals and entities from the UK register.

On 10 March, the UK sanctioned 7 further oligarchs including  Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska. This involves a full asset freeze and travel ban https://www.gov.uk/government/news/abramovich-and-deripaska-among-seven…

On 11 March, 386 members of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, were sanctioned.

On 15 March, following the passing of the Economic Crime Act today, sanctions were announced against 370 more people complicit in the Russian regime, including former President Dmitry Medvedev and defence minister Sergei Shoigu.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-announces-historic… 

This package of sanctions is the strongest economic measures the UK has ever enacted against Russia and will inflict severe consequences on the Russian economy. 

Humanitarian Aid:

I am proud that the UK is also supporting Ukraine in other ways through this crisis, including with humanitarian support.

It was announced on 1 March that the UK will send £40m more in aid to provide vital medical supplies and assistance to Ukraine, widening economic and military support to bolster the Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion, bringing its total humanitarian spend to £140 million.

Further aid was announced on 7 March, increasing the spend to £395 million. This included £75 million to the Ukrainian government budget to mitigate financial pressures created by Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion.

In addition to this, the Ukrainian and Polish Ambassadors to the UK have both said that there are real practical difficulties with transporting donations like food and clothes across the border into Ukraine. As a result, anyone wishing to donate is asked to do so via the central fundraising arm of the Disasters Emergency Committee. The link is below and the UK Government has said it will match fund all donations up to £20 million.

Home | Disasters Emergency Committee (dec.org.uk)

Overall, almost £400m in aid has been provided to Ukraine and the UK has been the largest European bilateral donor.  

Humanitarian teams from the UK are also in the region, with Field Teams in Poland, Romania and Moldova. The UK Emergency Medical Assessment Team has also been deployed. More than 650,000 medical items have been delivered to the Polish-Ukraine border, with more to follow.

Visas:

On 1 March the UK announced two new pathways to enable Ukrainian nationals to travel to the UK. Both are without any limitation on numbers, are free, and details are being worked through at pace:

  1. The first is the Ukrainian Family Scheme which gives extended family members the right to join any Ukrainian national who is currently living in the UK to come here, live and work. Details of the scheme were published on 4 March and can be found here:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-ukraine-family-scheme-visa
  2. The Humanitarian Sponsorship Pathway - for any Ukrainian national who has been matched with an individual, charity or community group who will support their stay. To find further details or to register interest, please use the link here:  https://homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk/   This Scheme will be live from Friday 18 March.

Global leadership

The Prime Minister attended the G7 and NATO summit in Brussels, urging our allies to go further in their responses to Russia’s increasingly brutal tactics.

The UK has offered financial support to the International Criminal Court and the Deputy Prime Minister chaired a meeting of justice and foreign affairs minister at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, calling on our international partners to provide funding and law enforcement support to reinforce the ICC’s investigation into Russian war crimes–building on the UK’s announcement of £1 million in funding and offer of soldiers with military expertise to help uncover evidence of war crimes. I asked the Deputy Prime Minister about this recently when he was standing in for the Prime Minister at PMQs.

The Government has boosted the BBC World Service with £4.1 million in emergency funding, supporting its Ukrainian and Russian language services to counter disinformation.

News