Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on our support for Ukraine.
It’s almost 4 months since Putin launched this illegal war, bringing untold suffering to the innocent people of Ukraine.
The United Kingdom has stood at Ukraine’s side throughout:
we have led the charge in the G7, delivering 6 waves of unprecedented, coordinated sanctions causing a £256 billion hit to the Russian economy
the UK has pledged over £1 billion in economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine – making us the third largest bilateral humanitarian donor.
and we were the first European country to deliver military aid – from armoured vehicles to multiple-launch rocket systems. This has spurred others to step up their support
This united effort has been vital to back Ukraine.
But we are now approaching a critical moment. Russia is bombarding towns and cities in the East.
Some outside Ukraine are questioning whether the free world can sustain its support and claiming that some are beginning to tire of this war. Mr Speaker, the people of Ukraine do not have that luxury.
Our answer must be clear. We will never tire of defending freedom and democracy.
Russian aggression cannot be appeased. It will be met with strength.
We know what is happening on the ground in Ukraine.
Evidence grows of heinous war crimes – the butchery of innocent Ukrainian civilians, rape, torture, and abduction.We will ensure that these crimes are fully investigated and that justice is done.
Russian proxies are breaching the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war – including the targeting of British citizens.
I utterly condemn these actions.
We are working through the Ukrainian authorities to secure their release and hold Russia to account. I am in close contact with my Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.
Allowing aggression to succeed would only bring further conflict and misery – and this war would not stop in Ukraine. So we are committed to stepping up our commitment to Ukraine, maintaining the pressure on Russia’s economy, and entrenching the policy of containment and isolation of Russia.
In the coming weeks leaders will meet at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and at the G7, G20 and NATO summits. These meetings are an opportunity to stand with Ukraine and stand up for sovereignty and freedom.
Ukraine can and must win this war.
We will never backslide on our commitments however long the conflict goes on. Our determination to defend our principles will outmatch that of the aggressors.
The result of Putin’s aggression so far has been to unite the free world.
We are stronger now than we were 4 months ago – and Russia is weaker.
We must maintain this unity.
We must be relentless in delivering military aid at this critical time. This includes long-range weapons and other vital needs, and improving the quality of Ukraine’s military equipment to long term to NATO standards.
That’s why my Rt Hon Friend the Prime Minister launched the UK-Poland Joint Commission in early April and we are working with Ukraine and other allies to shape its future defence strategy and deter future aggression.
We must also back Ukraine in negotiations. So far Russia has shown they are not serious about negotiations.
We cannot allow Ukraine to be pressured into giving up territory in a way that we would never accept ourselves.
Through the G7 and NATO we are doing everything we can to strengthen Ukraine’s hand. We also need to make sure our Baltic friends and our Polish friends are involved.
Sanctions must be kept in place while Russian boots are on Ukrainian soil.
And we must keep increasing the pressure.
Today I have announced our latest sanctions package:
this includes Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who has repeatedly abused his position to justify the war
it includes Russia Children’s Rights Commissioner, who has orchestrated a policy that enables the forced transfer and adoption of Ukrainian children into Russia
and it includes 4 further collaborators in the breakaway republics for their collusion in the occupation
While our immediate priority must be to help Ukraine win the war, we are also working to rebuild the country as fast as possible – with a new Marshall Plan.
At the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano next month we will rally the international reconstruction effort, urging all our partners to bring ambitious offers to the table.
I am working with Minister Kuleba on new investment into Kyiv and to help reconstruct those towns in the region that have been liberated from Russia’s destructive occupation.
Russia’s efforts to destroy Ukraine will only lead to it becoming a stronger, more prosperous, and more united European nation.
We must also end Russia’s attack on global food security.
The Kremlin is blockading Ukrainian ports, shelling civilian infrastructure and preventing Ukraine from exporting its produce. By driving up food prices and creating shortages they are punishing the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.
At the same time they are peddling lies and disinformation, claiming that the problems are because of sanctions. We are exposing these lies.
And we are working with our partners to unlock the export of grain and open the commercial shipping routes. We will stand with our friends in the Commonwealth and beyond who are suffering.
In the long run there must be consequences for Russia’s actions.
For would-be aggressors everywhere, Putin must not only lose this war, he must also be denied any benefit from it. Any future aggression must be prevented and Russia must be isolated on the world stage.
Ukraine must prevail – for the good of its people and to uphold the fundamental principles of sovereignty, self-determination, freedom and democracy.
The UK stands with Ukraine for the long haul.
I commend this statement to the House.