Karin Smyth MP reflects on a year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

This week (20 February 2023) marks the first anniversary since Russia invaded Ukraine for the second time. The first invasion took place in 2014 when Vladimir Putin illegally annex Crimea. Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, has reflected on the war and remarked how the UK’s support for Ukraine is ‘unshakeable’.

Putin’s war has resulted in over 13 million people are estimated to be stranded in affected areas or unable to leave due to heightened security risks, destruction of bridges and roads, as well as lack of resources or information on where to find safety and accommodation.

Back in May last year, Amnesty International published a report documenting unlawful airstrikes on Borodianka and extrajudicial executions in other towns and villages, including Andriivka, Bucha, Vorzel and Zdvyzhivka(Kyivska oblast, north). Amnesty International said that in Borodianka, for example, it found that at least 40 civilians were killed in “disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks,” which devastated an entire neighbourhood and left thousands of people homeless. In Bucha and several other towns and villages located north-west of Kyiv, Amnesty International documented 22 cases of unlawful killings, most of which were apparent extrajudicial executions.

The UK has since provided Ukraine with anti-tank missiles and, more recently, tanks to help with their war effort against the unprovoked Russian aggression.

In advance of the anniversary, Karin Smyth MP has attended two sessions this week with the Ukrainian Ambassador.

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:

“This poignant week in world history should act as a time for us all to reflect on the livelihoods destroyed and the lives lost to Putin’s killing machine. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 demonstrated a nation who did not believe the right of self-determination existed nor does the sovereignty of its people. The repeated actions a year ago have shown what we can achieve when united against hatred, fear and division.

“Labour’s commitment to NATO is unshakeable – and the alliance has strongly condemned Putin’s actions. We must move in lockstep with our NATO allies, and take steps to reinforce the alliance. The Government has Labour’s full support to do this. It is right that Britain has provided support to Ukraine to defend itself – and this should continue. We should shift from crisis management to delivering the medium-term military support Ukraine will need for Putin’s next offensive.

“In this week of reflection, I have met with the Ukrainian Ambassador to hear directly about the impact on people there and listen carefully about the support they seek from the United Kingdom.

“I want to thank the people of Bristol for showing such determination and compassion to help Ukrainian families who were forced to flee their homes. Your kindness, although known to everyone in our city, demonstrated why we are the best community to live in. Let’s say with one united voice this week ‘Slava Ukraini!’.”