Like everyone, I have been shocked and saddened by the horror unleashed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The endless, barbaric attacks on innocent civilians are unbearable to watch.
The news coming out of Ukraine doesn’t escape any of us. On a visit with Year 1 and 2 students at a local school, one pupil asked me why Putin isn’t being fair to Ukraine, while another wanted me to ask Boris Johnson how to stop the war. I’ve received letters from constituents as young as 10 and 12 years old, sharing their worries and asking me to use my influence to help children like them in Ukraine.
In addition to these touching words of solidarity from children, my inbox has been overwhelmed by offers of help and support from constituents and businesses, including those eager to welcome refugees into their homes.
The generosity of residents donating time and goods to Twickenham’s Ukrainian restaurant, Prosperity on York Street, has been absolutely incredible. On my visit there, I spoke with Galyna, Alex, their staff and volunteers about the challenges they face in getting supplies to Ukraine, and told them I will help in any way I can.
In Parliament, I’m pressing ministers to ensure that the generosity of the British public will be matched by the Government. At the time of writing this column, many Ukrainian refugees are still stuck in limbo, facing complicated visa barriers. I was moved by the story of the 70-year-old Ukrainian father of one of my constituents, who was approved for a British visa but told he had to travel 300 miles to Warsaw to collect it. With the crisis only escalating, we must go further in removing these visa barriers – and in welcoming refugees with compassion when they arrive.
This is why I’m supporting an ambitious commitment to resettle Ukrainian refugees in the UK, including a five-year funding package for local councils to support those resettled in their area. At the same time, we must forge stronger diplomatic relations with our European neighbours, to help counter the threat posed by Putin’s Russia, and close every loophole that allows oligarchs to take their money and flee to a safe haven.
The courage shown by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and all Ukrainians, has been nothing short of inspiring. Listening to the President’s historic address to Parliament was incredibly moving. We must do all we can to stand with Ukrainians and defend democracy. I know that the residents of Twickenham and Teddington stand with me.
For more resources and information on how you can help, please visit my website:
Munira Wilson, MP http://www.munira.org.uk
call 020 8977 0606 for her constituency office or 020 7219 6474 for her parliamentary office