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Editorial: In Ukraine, I saw the human cost of this war

This week we also mark a year since Vladimir Putin began his brutal invasion of Ukraine, a sombre anniversary that will be marked not just in Ukraine, but here in Bradford and across much of the world.

During my visit to Ukraine in December, I saw the human cost of the war. Putin’s forces had inflicted horrific damage on their towns and people.

I saw blocks of flats gutted by missile attacks in Kharkiv, homes peppered with shrapnel, and schools destroyed in the town of Slatyne – where I saw the unexploded warheads of rockets still embedded in the playground.

This tragic conflict may well continue, but Ukraine has achieved what many had once believed was impossible.

For a year already, it has firmly withstood an invading force intent on bringing Ukrainian democracy to its knees.

And despite the inhumane scenes that surround them, the Ukrainian people live with dignity and compassion and fight bravely toward victory.

Everywhere I went throughout Ukraine, I heard one message loud and clear: “Please do not forget us”.

This simple and profound message has stayed with me.

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, I pressed the Government to continue to support Ukraine by providing it with the necessary military capabilities it needs to defend itself.

Equally, I called on the Government to throw its full support behind Ukraine’s recovery effort.

I know that this conflict brings great worry to families in Bradford.

It is nevertheless more important than ever that we stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine.

Its brave and resilient people are fighting for their freedom, but they need our continuing help to keep it.

Last week, I was honoured to mark this difficult anniversary with Bradford’s Ukrainian community at Bradford Cathedral.

I also joined the Ukrainian Women’s Organisation in celebration of Ukraine’s heroines.


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