Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 created a humanitarian crisis and has resulted in untold human suffering.
Hundreds of men, women and children have died from Russia’s aggressive war and millions of people have fled their homes in fear for their lives.
- Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of H&F, writes about our solidarity with the Ukrainian people
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It is always the first step, not the last, when an autocracy invades a democracy. An important lesson of history is that dictators may win in the short term, but in the end it is the democracies that triumph.
Many Ukrainians have long made Hammersmith & Fulham their home. I can only imagine the raw sense of fear they have for their family and friends as Putin’s planes and missiles bomb their country, and Putin’s tanks and soldiers seek to fight and kill the people they love for defending their homeland. I know all of us in Hammersmith & Fulham feel a heartfelt sense of solidarity with Ukrainians everywhere.
While our grandparents and great grandparents knew what it was like to resist an invasion, mine and other generations of Britons have enjoyed decades of European peace and prosperity.
But now we face Vladimir Putin. A man who stole Russia’s democracy and made himself a billionaire. He invaded Georgia in 2008 and Crimea in 2014. He bombed civilians in Syria. He put Novichok onto the streets of Salisbury and Polonium onto the streets of London. And he regularly uses cyber warfare against us – influencing the US elections and the Brexit referendum in 2016.
The democracies bordering Russia and the Ukraine are rightly on high alert and they are our allies. Most are members of the European Union, NATO or both. This is where Mr Putin’s big game must stop. He must be left in no doubt that NATO stands united and resolute.
To begin, Western sanctions must hurt Putin and his cronies.
In Britain, the recommendations of the Russia Report must now be urgently implemented. Written by Parliament’s intelligence and security committee some 18 months ago, the 50-page document described Russian influence in the UK as “the new normal”. Meanwhile, according to this new analysis from Transparency International (an independent anti-corruption organisation), UK property worth £1.5bn is now owned by Russian oligarchs accused of financial crime or with links to the Kremlin. Russian speculators must not be allowed to buy up property in London and elsewhere in the UK.
Britain must act decisively. It must target the kleptocrats who prop up Putin’s regime and take serious measures to prevent future Russian disinformation and interference in British democracy. Putin won’t stop unless he’s stopped.
For now, it’s important we focus on the Ukrainian people. This Twitter thread provides an insight to the “terrible things” one reporter saw as he walked “a hellish 20-hour journey” to Poland alongside refugees fleeing Putin’s aggression.
They will need our help and charities are already calling for action. Hammersmith & Fulham stands by ready to support Ukrainian refugees as will nearly every other council across the UK. Here is a link to a national donation website.
We will continue to fly the Ukrainian flag outside the council offices at 145 King Street.
25 February 2022
To help Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK, we've created this resource, outlining the support available in H&F and beyond.
H&F Welcome Sessions
If you are a Ukrainian refugee that arrived in H&F outside of the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme and would like to attend one of our regular welcome events, please contact our Community Connect team to arrange an appointment.
To schedule your appointment, call Freephone 0800 012 1577, 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Our welcome events are designed to support refugees who have just arrived by linking in with council and local support services.
H&F Ukraine Appeal
We are currently working with H&F Giving and frontline charities to create the H&F Ukraine Appeal, a fundraising effort that residents can donate to. Learn more about our Ukraine appeal.
UK Government support for Ukrainian refugees
The UK Government is also providing support for arriving Ukrainian refugees.
- Welcome! A guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK - GOV.UK
- UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals - GOV.UK
- How do families arriving from Ukraine apply for a school place and childcare? (blog.gov.uk)
Homes for Ukraine scheme
Visit Homes for Ukraine for information.
Mind are offering free counselling sessions to Ukrainian refugees living in H&F. Find out more here: Counselling for Ukraine - Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow Mind (hfehmind.org.uk)
Barnardo’s is offering support to anyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, including therapy, advice and practical support. Check out their website for more: Help for anyone fleeing the Ukrainian conflict (barnardos.org.uk)
British Red Cross support
Access support from the British Red Cross. Help for Ukrainian nationals in the UK (redcross.org.uk)
For contact details for the Ukrainian Embassy, including consular contact information, see Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (mfa.gov.ua)
Immigration or visa advice
The Ukraine Advice Project provides free immigration advice by qualified lawyers for those fleeing Ukraine.
Ukrainian Institute London
To access information from the Ukrainian Institute, see Settling into the UK: Ukrainian Refugee Support (ukrainianinstitute.org.uk)
Mayor of London
For the Mayor of London’s advice to Ukrainian refugees arriving in London, see Ukraine information hub | London City Hall
Social Media support
- Ukrainians in London Facebook Group
- UK supports Ukraine Telegram Group
- How to help Ukraine now Telegram Group
Community support and events
For things to do once you have arrived, check out Ukrainian London’s events: Home - Ukrainian Events in London (ukrainianlondon.co.uk)