Lichfield councillor urges UK to show compassion for those fleeing conflict in Ukraine
The Government must show actions as well as words to ensure civilians fleeing Ukraine are supported, a Lichfield councillor has said. Cllr Paul Ray made his comments in an open letter to Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant.
"We all agree that the situation in Ukraine is tragic and frightening beyond belief. This is the darkest day for our continent since 1945.
"All our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine. They are being, and will continue to be, so brave and our Government and all western governments must also be brave and strong against the evil of Putin.
"As a country, we have a proud history of supporting those who flee war and persecution. Thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing and we must support them with real and compassionate support.
"The UK Government must help lead a coordinated humanitarian response, including a simple scheme to resettle Ukrainian refugees in the UK. Statements from ministers over recent days sadly just do not reflect this.
"Our country is a compassionate country and we want our government to be compassionate at this time of crisis. We must not turn our backs on Ukrainians in their hour of need.
"This issue is so grave and obviously not a matter of party politics and I urge you as my MP to pressurise the UK Government to ensure that we stand with Ukraine - not just with words but with actions. This is what your electorate and the people of this country want."
The Government has announced a number of sanctions on Russia in the wake of the invasion. But Cllr Ray said he hoped to see "the most severe of punitive sanctions" introduced against Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his supporters. "It is bitterly disappointing and just plain wrong that Roman Abramovich and other oligarchs have failed to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.
"We need a tough approach from the UK Government to freeze and seize the assets of Putin's supporters who have money and property in the UK, using Unexplained Wealth Orders.
"There should also be a windfall tax on oil and gas superprofits, including those of Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom, whose trading arm is based in London."