Bucks political leaders on Russia's invasion of Ukraine

How Bucks MPs are addressing the war

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 2:32 pm

Russia has launched an unprovoked attack on European democracy in Ukraine, prompting the flight of refugees as the number of dead from the war continues to rise.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin is accused of ending peace in Europe.

In response, Bucks Council Leader Councillor Martin Tett said he is “horrified and utterly appalled”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Aylesbury MP Rob Butler

Read More

Read More
Bucks Council to support Ukrainian citizens forced to flee during Russian invasi...

Conservative MPs for Wycombe, Buckingham, and Aylesbury – Steve Baker, Greg Smith, and Rob Butler respectively – also shared concerns, but welcomed sanctions on Russia.

Sarah Green MP: “I am horrified by Vladimir Putin’s attack on the people of Ukraine. A terrible tragedy is now unfolding before our eyes.

“Last week I joined Ukrainians in London at their demonstration outside Downing Street and was moved by what I heard. I have found the sound of the air-raid sirens on the news reports chilling.

Bucks Council Leader Martin Tett

“Together with international allies, we must stand with the people of Ukraine and do all we can to support them against this unprovoked attack.

“While I welcome the sanctions laid out by the Prime Minister, I believe we should be going further including by imposing the most punitive sanctions and offering greater military support to Ukraine and NATO allies in eastern Europe. As an MP, I am ready and willing to attend weekend sittings of Parliament to accelerate any necessary measures.

“We must also remember the inconceivable human cost this conflict is already having. The UK needs to commit to an ambitious humanitarian response.

"We should be welcoming vulnerable Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russian forces – not only those who already have family in the country.”

Steve Baker MP: “I am thoroughly appalled by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. To initiate a war of aggression may be the ultimate war crime, encompassing as it does all the evil which follows.

“I welcome the sanctions applied against Russia. These should go as far and be as hard as possible.

“We must now stand firm in support of our NATO commitments. Putin must be in no doubt that if he invades a NATO country, we will be at war. The situation could scarcely be more serious.

“There is no doubt that this invasion is materially enabled by Europe’s dependence on Russian hydrocarbons. It is imperative now that we take fast, practical steps to end that dependence.”

Rob Butler MP: “I strongly welcome the Government’s fast action in announcing sanctions targeting Russian economic interests. President Putin’s recognition of the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ as independent states and then ordering troops into eastern Ukraine proves what western countries have been saying for weeks – he is itching to invade an independent, sovereign country. He has shown complete disregard for the UN Charter and Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements and made a blatant attack on Ukraine’s right to self-determination.

Greg Smith MP: “Russia’s invasion of the sovereign state of the Ukraine is an evil criminal act by a totalitarian dictator. As the Prime Minister said in his televised address to the nation on February 24, ‘Ukraine is a country that for decades has enjoyed freedom and democracy and the right to choose its own destiny. We—and the world—cannot allow that freedom just to be snuffed out. We cannot and will not just look away’.

“I want to assure you that the situation in Ukraine is at the centre of my focus and has been for some weeks – I questioned ministers on the situation in Ukraine before it escalated so dramatically.

“Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has catalysed fear that has not been felt since the Cold War. On February 24, millions of us woke up to the news of Russian tanks rolling across the border into Ukraine.

"No one could be failed to be moved by the very distressing images of Ukrainians fleeing their homes, some of them unable to carry their possessions with them, as they sought escape for themselves and their families. These were scenes not seen in Europe since the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

“However hard Ukraine endeavours to be a sovereign and independent country, secure within its borders, that ambition is thwarted by Putin’s imperialism.

"It truly is a David vs Goliath situation. These actions should be seen in the context of other aggressive acts, such as the invasion of Georgia in 2008 and the continued occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"Other actions include Russia’s role in Syria, the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner, the poisoning in Salisbury and cyberwarfare.

"Putin has long made it clear he is prepared to act as the world’s aggressor, regardless of the consequences for the Russian people.

“I want to reassure my constituents that the UK remains committed to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. The Government of President Zelensky is the only lawful Government in Ukraine.

“We want Ukraine to be stable and prosperous, and Ukrainians should be able to choose their own future. But words alone will not defend the Ukrainian people.

"It is vital that NATO allies continue to stand with Ukraine and that we work to bolster Kiev’s defences. We must show a united front, because what will inevitably happen is that either the Baltic states, one of the members of NATO, or perhaps Sweden or Finland will feel the wrath of Putin next.

“The UK remains a key and active member of the NATO alliance. UK military support for Ukraine covers many areas and has been expanded and extended. That includes training delivered through Operation Orbital, which has trained more than 20,000 Ukrainian troops.

“The Prime Minister has set out sanctions that will maximise the economic price that Putin will pay for his aggression, and I welcome that after considerable pressure from the UK, Russian banks have now been kicked off Swift system.

“The Prime Minister is right to warn Europe against reliance on Russian hydrocarbons. Britain is much less directly reliant on Russian gas than continental Europe but is affected by higher prices in the global wholesale market.

“I will be upfront with constituents about the challenges sanctions with Russia will pose for our energy supply. Although these challenges pale into insignificance compared with the suffering of the Ukrainian people.

“I know constituents will be thinking about the effect on prices of oil and gas. I will continue to press the Government to do everything it can to help abate the cost including scrapping VAT and green levies on energy bills.

"In the medium and long term, we need more self-reliance in this country on our own energy supplies. We should liberate the private sector to go for gas so we are not dependent on unreliable regimes abroad and keep some coal power plants on stream to deal with shortages.

"Geological surveys have also shown that we have substantial gas and oil reserves in shale that, with fracking, could satisfy our fuel needs for years. We cannot be beholden to the whims of hostile regimes for our energy needs.

“Ukrainians look to Britain for leadership on our continent. We are one of the few international partners that have offered Ukraine a full range of military, security, economic, political and governance support.

“I look forward to further steps being taken in the days ahead. Ukraine will be one of the most important countries on our continent in the decades ahead.

"I remember the celebrations in 1989 when the iron curtain was finally taken down. The curtain has now come down again on the years after 1989. After the sacrifice and heroism of previous generations to tear down that curtain, we must not allow another iron curtain to be reimposed.

"It is important that all Ukraine’s friends continue to show unflappable support for the country. It is important work, which I believe we should all support.”

Councillor Tett: “We’re all horrified and utterly appalled by the events unfolding in Ukraine and the unlawful invasion of a peaceful European sovereign nation. It is frightening and destabilising to us all and we stand in solidarity with Ukraine and its people.

“The Gateway building in Aylesbury was lit in blue and yellow, the colours of the Ukrainian flag, and is flying the Ukraine flag from a number of our buildings this week, as a very clear and public sign of our support.

“We know many Buckinghamshire residents want to offer financial support too to help the people of Ukraine and the refugees being forced to flee their country. The British Red Cross and UNICEF have both launched appeals, the details of which can be found online.

“As a council, we stand ready to offer practical support to Ukrainian citizens here and those who may arrive as a result of this terrible situation.”

Joy Morrissey MP (Beaconsfield) was approached for comment.