100 days

There is a lot to celebrate this weekend. I hope that most of us will have an opportunity to rest and relax a bit!

However, it is incredibly sad that today marks 100 days since Russia started its invasion on Ukraine.

  • The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) verified a total of 4,169 civilian deaths during Russia’s military attack on Ukraine as of June 1, 2022. Of them, 268 were children. Furthermore, 4,982 people were reported to have been injured. However, the real numbers could be higher.
  • There were approximately 13,000 non-fatal injuries.
  • At least 15 million people were displaced (more than the total population of Los Angeles).
  • There are 2,300 destroyed buildings.

So many Ukrainians were forced to flee. So many had to leave behind members of their families, husbands, fathers or livelihoods.

BBC reports that:

  • Poland has taken in 3,544,995 refugees
  • Romania 972,203
  • Russia 945,007
  • Hungary 654,664
  • Moldova 473,690
  • Slovakia 446,755
  • Belarus 27,308

BBC also claims that as of 24 May, 115,000 Ukrainian visas had been issued, out of 135,600 applications, and as at 23 May, 60,100 visa holders had arrived in the UK.

The British government continues to claim that it is leading the way in support for Ukraine. However, is the truth quite the opposite? Could the government have done more? The Help for Ukraine Scheme, which was poorly designed, delays in payments for host families or lack of provision at the local level for Ukrainian refugees; these are only a few real examples of government’s incompetence. Having said that, nothing can be taken away from the phenomenal support from thousands of individuals and grassroots organisations, which are making an incredible difference to so many people, who fled this horrific conflict.

Let’s just hope that the war will end soon. Let’s hope that Ukrainian sovereignty can be successfully restored. Let’s hope that many Ukrainians, who were displaced, will be able to return to their country of origin. We can’t lose hope and faith. There must be a light at the end of this dark tunnel.

* Michal Siewniak is a Lib Dem activist and councillor for Handside ward, Welwyn Hatfield.

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  • When the Queen was crowned 70 years ago the British empire had begun the process of dismemberment. Ireland has attained Independence in the 1920s and India in 1947. The British has withdrawn from Palestine and at the time of the coronation the Mau Mau Rebellion broke out in Kenya. Sudan gained independence in 1956, closely followed the next year by Ghana. One by one British colonies throughout the African mainland declared independence in the next decade, concluding in 1966. The one exception was Namibia which was late to achieve independence in 1990. In the following decades numerous other countries across the globe proceeded to gain their independence from Britain. In 1997 Hong Kong was handed back to Chinese.
    The Russian empire came to end with the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. There is no going back to Imperialism. Andriy Zagorodnyuk, a former Ukrainian defence minister, set out the Ukrainian position in an article today Ukraine is desperate for peace, but we won’t sign up to a bogus Russian deal writing Kissinger is wrong: surrendering territory to appease Russia would have terrible consequences for the whole world. Russia like Britain before it, needs to accept the winds of change and turn managed decline into a new Grand strategy based on International law and respect for human rights both at home and abroad abandoning Russification

  • @ Joe Bourke “The one exception was Namibia which was late to achieve independence in 1990”.

    I’m not so sure Namibia could ever be described as part of the British Empir, although some of Lloyd George’s chums were after it for exploitative purposes after WW1 in the Versailles negotiations.

    In fact Namibia was a German colony from 1884 to 1919 and was then administered by apartheid South Africa until 1990. A small German population still lives in the country. For what it was worth, in 2004 Germany apologised for the colonial-era genocide that killed 65,000 Herero people through starvation and slave labour in concentration camps. The Belgian colonial record was just as, if not more, awful in the neighbouring Congo.

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