Vladimir Putin’s decision to send his troops into Ukraine is a dark moment in European history. His attack on Ukraine was an unprovoked, unjustifiable invasion of a sovereign neighbour. Russia’s action has stunned the world and rightly resulted in widespread international condemnation. But condemnation is not enough.
Last week, just hours after the start of Putin’s attack, I spoke in a debate at Holyrood on showing solidarity with Ukraine. As well as condemning Russian aggression, I emphasised the importance of standing firm behind Ukraine and its people and supporting their sovereignty. MSPs united behind the government’s motion showing solidarity with Ukraine, while the UK Parliament reacted in the same unified way.
Since then we have seen co-ordinated moves to isolate Putin’s Russia, with increasingly strong sanctions, more lethal and non-lethal aid for Ukraine and renewed efforts to crackdown on Russia’s global campaign of disinformation and propaganda. We must work with our allies in NATO and our allies in Europe to increase the pressure on Putin to de-escalate the crisis and withdraw his troops from Ukraine.
I welcome the action that has been taken so far, but also believe both the UK and the international community can go further, for example on agreeing to take more refugees. These events must also signal a major turning point in stopping the flow of illicit Russian finance into Britain.
I know many East Lothian residents are eager to support humanitarian efforts for Ukraine’s people. If you are able to afford it, donating to charities working to support Ukrainians is one of the best ways to help. They include UNICEF, UNHCR, British Red Cross and United Help Ukraine.
Donating items is another way to help the thousands of Ukrainian refugees forced to flee their country. Maggie’s Bar and Café at QMU is looking for both donations and volunteers to help collect and sort donations for refugees.
Find out more about wider local efforts at www.facebook.com/EdinburghUkrainianClub.