Last week’s storms left many of us without electricity for several days and I thank Western Power and their staff for all their hard work restoring properties to the grid in the days that followed. Whilst trees came down and we had power cuts there was no loss of life and for that we are grateful.
I have been contacted by residents asking about my position on Ukraine. I know it seems a long way from home, but as some have pointed out, this crisis does have the potential to affect our day-to-day lives. I hope this statement addresses some questions, but please remember that the situation is changing rapidly and some of this could quickly become out of date. Like you, I deplore what President Putin is doing; His actions over the past few years have already led to thousands of deaths in Ukraine. As I write this, on the morning of the 24th of February, Russian military forces have launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. There are reports of heavy casualties and it is sobering to know that Ukrainian people are now fighting for their right to exist as a nation. The previous action of the previous few days has triggered coordinated sanctions against Russian businesses and some individuals. I am pleased the UK has already given millions of pounds worth of lethal equipment such as anti-tank weaponry for Ukraine to use to defend itself, and more equipment is to be delivered in the coming days. This is not the Victorian age. Countries shouldn't just be able to absorb other countries by force. Putin is threatening the established world order and the rules that govern how countries act. We are the fifth richest state on earth and one of the most powerful, so we have a duty to join our friends and allies around the world in standing up for our way of life and for the Ukrainian people. I know if the UK were threatened, I'd want support from other countries too. We only need to look at the past to know what can happen when dictators threaten others. Our way of life – the freedoms we enjoy living in the UK – can only exist if we are safe from those who want to harm us and if our neighbours are at peace. We must also remember that there are millions of Russians, rich and poor, old and young, who do not support Putin and do not support invading Ukraine. We should not tarnish all Russians with the same brush.
I am pleased that the UK has led the way in responding to this crisis and I fully support the actions the government has taken. The fact so many Ukrainian people are publicly thanking the UK is heartening. These are difficult times, but they will get better. If you have friends or family in Ukraine and you are concerned about their welfare then please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.