Mark Drakeford travels to Brussels to hold meetings on Wales’ role in helping Ukraine
The First Minister has said that the situation in Ukraine will be at the top of the agenda as he visits Brussels on Wednesday for a series of meetings with diplomats and parliamentarians.
The meetings at Brussels were organised as part of a programme of events held this week by the Welsh Government to celebrate St David’s Day and to reaffirm Wales’ relationships with key European nations and regions.
But Mark Drakeford said that he will now use the visit to discuss the actions taken in Wales to react to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, including Wales’ relationship with key international partners.
The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said: “I am gravely concerned about the horrific and appalling situation in Ukraine. This is a European conflict, just beyond the borders of the EU.
“As the conflict develops in the short and medium-term, it seems that millions of people will be directly affected in many ways for years to come.
“The strategic order of Europe has altered and may not be fully stable again for some time.
“Wales’s European identity matters now perhaps more than ever. I want to emphasise our Welsh identity as a European nation sharing the values of freedom, free speech and a peaceful European way of life.
“I want to build on our strong working relationship with the European Union to deepen and build on our established partnerships with Member States and European Regions.”
He said that Wales was ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees and assessments are underway on how prepared the authorities are to accept Ukrainian citizens escaping the war.
Work is also being done to measure the exposure of local government pension funds in Wales to Russian investments and financial products, he added.
Earlier the Welsh Government announced that it would provide £4 million in financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine to help support those in desperate need.
“We stand in support of the Ukrainian people who are bravely resisting this unprovoked and brutal act of war,” Mark Drakeford said.
“The Welsh Government will provide £4 million in financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, which will help to provide crucial support to many who are in desperate need. We are also assessing what surplus medical equipment could usefully be sent to the country.
“Wales, as a Nation of Sanctuary, stands ready to welcome people fleeing Ukraine. Tomorrow we will be holding urgent discussions with local authority leaders to ensure preparations are in place to accept refugees.
“I have also written to the Prime Minister urging the UK government to strengthen current arrangements to enable Ukrainian citizens to come to the UK quickly and safely. It is vital people can seek safe sanctuary here without bureaucracy delaying that process.
“The UK government must honour its duty to allow people to seek safety in situations such as those we are all witnessing today with great sadness and repulsion.”
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