North Northamptonshire politicians condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have fled the country

By Sam Wildman
Monday, 28th February 2022, 1:04 pm

Politicians across north Northamptonshire have condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with calls for more help for refugees and stronger action to deter President Putin.

Hundreds of people have died, with hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the country after a series of missile attacks as Russian troops try to seize control of the independent nation.

Russia's economy has plunged after sanctions from the West over the conflict, with Mr Putin putting Russia's nuclear deterrent on alert. Talks have begun in Belarus between negotiators from Kyiv and Moscow but the conflict is not showing any signs of ending.

A fighter of the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces, the military reserve of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, stands guard in front of the Kyiv City Hall. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

At a North Northamptonshire Council meeting last week Cllr Jason Smithers (Con), leader of the council, moved a motion speaking out against the act of aggression in Eastern Europe. The motion was seconded by the Labour group and supported by the Green Alliance, giving cross-party support.

Cllr Smithers said: “North Northamptonshire Council unreservedly condemns the unprovoked aggression of Russia in invading the Ukraine and stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and supports the British Government in its diplomatic and economic measures against the Russian State.”

The Kettering Constituency Labour Party said they stand with Ukraine and demanded that the UK Government immediately relaxes visas and border restrictions on all refugees displaced from Ukraine.

They also want to see the "divisive and ill-judged" Borders Bill thrown out. They say it will do nothing to help the people of Ukraine or those fleeing war, persecution and hatred,.

Bev Wright, chair of Kettering Constituency Labour Party and Kettering town councillor for Northfield, said: "Despite the Prime Minister’s words on Ukraine, his Government is still intent on pushing through the Borders Bill which, contrary to international law, would make refugees and asylum seekers, including those from Ukraine, illegal.

"This is just plain wrong and contrary to British values.”

Wellingborough MP Peter Bone told the Daily Express: "We must make sure that President Putin realises that any invasion of a NATO country, on whatever pretence, will receive an immediate and full military retaliation.

"Saying this of course, will not be enough to deter the Russians. NATO must heavily reinforce its military units on its Eastern flank.

"This will mean more military expenditure in Europe, not only by the USA and the UK...only if Putin thinks NATO will act, and he can see that the military hardware is in place, will he stop."

And a Wellingborough Labour Party spokesman said: "We understand that people in our country are worried about Russian aggression but we can be inspired by the resolve and strength of the Ukrainian people.

"There is no mistake. Putin’s actions are evil. The Russian president’s actions pose a threat to the international order which we all depend on for security and trade. Putin has destroyed families, livelihoods, homes and history. The people of Ukraine deserve justice. Putin must never be forgiven.

"Ukraine deserves more than warm words, they deserve our complete solidarity. An attack against our allies is an attack against us. While Ukraine is not a member of NATO, they are an innocent, sovereign, independent country. Russia’s attack on these principles is an attack on the foundations of Western society.

"Putin must face the same lessons as other dictators from the last century. Liberty, hope and democracy always win.

"The UK, US and Europe, including NATO and the European Union, must take meaningful action against Russia and everyone linked to Putin. We must implement the hardest possible sanctions to de-escalate and mitigate the damage from Russia. The influence of Russian money must be extradited from the UK.

"The only way the West can win is if we stand united. Labour will continue to criticise government policy and offer an alternative future but when it comes to dealing with Russian aggression, no matter our difference of political positions, we are all team UK. Putin must see that solidarity, we must all work towards the same goal."