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Welsh councils show solidarity in condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

06 Mar 2022 4 minute read
Russian plane with bombs shot down over Chernihiv. Picture by State Emergency Service of Ukraine (CC BY 4.0).

Councils across Wales have widely condemned Vladimir Putin and the Russian army invasion of Ukraine, while pledging support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Powys County Council has backed an emergency motion proposed by Liberal Democrat Cllr John Morris and Plaid Cymru group leader Cllr Elwyn Vaughan to offload Russian-based pension fund investments as it formally condemns Vladimir Putin and the Russian Army’s invasion of Ukraine.

Cllr Morris said: “It’s a truly terrible week in Ukraine. Elwyn and I feel as a council we need to say something.”

Cllr Vaughan said: “All we want is to send a clear message from Powys that we are standing up for democracy with our friends and colleagues in Ukraine.

“Even after a fortnight where we’ve seen in this council a lot of tensions and arguments, after all that we have the privilege to stand up for democracy where in other places in Europe, Russia is trying to choke democracy.”

Finance portfolio holder Cllr Aled Davies said: “Russia is a very proud country that has been completely sold down the river by that dictator.”

Cllr Hayes added: “Many Russians are deeply ashamed of the action their country has taken and they feel misled by the actions of their leader.”

Cllr Peter Lewis, chairman of the Powys Pensions and Investments committee said that the investments in Russian companies would be divested as soon as possible.

In Newport, councillors have expressed their solidarity with the people of Ukraine and say Newport is willing to take in refugees.

A motion to “deplore” the actions of Russia’s Vladimir Putin was put forward by leader Cllr Jane Mudd at a full council meeting last week which was unanimously approved by councillors.

Cllr Mudd said: “Newport has a long and proud tradition of giving sanctuary to refugees and we are ready to do what we can to help those having to flee their homes and country as a result of this cruel and unwarranted invasion.”

Unacceptable aggression

A motion deploring the “unacceptable aggression” shown by Russian President Vladimir Putin against Ukraine has received the full backing of Swansea councillors.

They said they stood in solidarity with its people and would support those in need of sanctuary.

The motion at a meeting of full council said Mr Putin’s actions did not respect international law, and that councillors backed all efforts to secure peace.

Cllr Chris Holley, leader of the Liberal-Democrats, said Ukrainians were fighting for their democratic rights, and that Mr Putin only cared about himself, power and money.

“I don’t think we can do anything more without starting a nuclear war,” he said.

Council leader Rob Stewart described what was unfolding as “abhorrent”.

“It is appalling situation we find ourselves in,” he said.

But he said the motion was not aimed at the people of Russia, and that they were victims too.

The leader of Merthyr Tydfil Council has vowed that they will support anyone seeking refuge from Ukraine.

Councillor Lisa Mytton said the council stands with Ukraine and that many discussions are taking place on how to support and offer sanctuary to those displaced by the war there.

Cllr Mytton also said they will support any Russian citizens in the community as this situation has been caused by the Russian leader and not them.

Speaking at full council last week she said: “We are united with both central and Welsh Government’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and condemn the Russian leader for his aggression.

“I encourage all in the chamber and county borough to show their support.

“Mи стоїмо разом з Україною  – we stand with Ukraine.”

Additional reporting by Elgin Hearn, Rhiannon James, Anthony Lewis and Richard Youle, local democracy reporters

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