Ukraine

UPDATE: 15th March 2022

As I mentioned in my previous update, I have been pushing for greater action to support Ukrainian refugees and I promised to update you regarding the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme and how you are able to register for this scheme if you are interested in sponsoring Ukrainian residents with no family ties to the UK.
 
Under the scheme individual sponsors will be asked to provide homes or a spare room rent-free for as long as they are able, with a minimum stay of 6 months. In return, they will receive £350 per month.
 
Ahead of visa applications going live on Friday 18th March the website is now open for registration and has some more details about the requirements: https://homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk/ 
 
I know that many people will be unable to Sponsor a refugee but would like to support in other ways. The government is recommending that people donate money rather than goods to charities and organisations that are best placed to direct support where it is needed. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ukraine-what-you-can-do-to-help

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UPDATE 10th March 2022

I wanted to update you on the UK efforts to help Ukrainian refugees. As I said yesterday I cannot defend the poor response by the UK so far, in getting people fleeing war to the UK. My team have been working night and day to get people out and most of those we have been helping have got to the UK.

I am as frustrated as you by how difficult it has been and I’m not going to defend the obstacles being put in peoples way as they flee war . Yesterday a number of MPs met with Michael Gove who is taking on the efforts to take in refugees and is rapidly setting up the humanitarian route which will open in the next 24hrs and will enable people / local councils / charities /churches/religious groups to sponsor people and take them in and offer accommodation, work and support. There is no limit to the numbers we will accept and we expect over 200,000 will want to come to the UK.

We expect the portal for people to register their offers of help and be matched with families to open very soon and I will post the links here. There will need to be checks on hosts to ensure the safety of those fleeing but many groups will already meet these criteria and so this will be speedy. There will be a minimum time commitment for those sponsoring families as we can’t have families moving every few weeks. 

Checks for those coming from the Ukraine are being reduced and also more resources are going into our Visa Application Centres in all countries to speed up the process for people who want to come to the UK as this has been too slow and too bureaucratic.

Please be assured I am pushing ministers to move as quickly as possible and we are meeting Michael Gove again today. As always if you have details of anyone trying to get to the UK please do email me as the team are able to help people get through and come to the UK as quickly as possible.

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UPDATE: 8th March 2022

Sanctions

Firstly the Government has announced punishing sanctions that have already had an effect on Putin’s financial institutions and military industrial complex. Over 228  businesses and oligarchs, worth hundreds of billions of pounds, have been sanctioned This was carefully co-ordinated with our allies including the US, the EU, and G7 partners. Following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, these sanctions ban Russia’s key industries and companies from raising finance on the UK’s money markets. They also stop Russian banks, state and privately owned companies borrowing from UK lenders with sanctions on;

  • Freezing the assets of all Russian banks with a full asset freeze on VTB, Russia’s second largest bank with assets totalling £154 billion and 95,000 employees.
  • A total of £258 billion in total bank assets frozen
  • Over 3 million Russian companies barred from raising money on UK capital markets.
  • Sanctions on Rostec. Russia’s biggest defence company, which exports more than £10 billion of arms each year and employs two million people.
  • Sanctions on Tactical Missile Corporation. Russia’s leading supplier of air and sea missiles which played a leading role in its build up of forces against Ukraine.
  • Sanctions on Uralvagonzavod. One of the world’s largest tank manufacturers.
  • Banning the Russian state itself from raising funds in the UK, as previously announced.
  • Stopping Russian banks from accessing Sterling and clearing payments through the UK. This is the UK’s largest financial sanction in terms of the size on institutions targeted and is taken alongside the US who are putting in place an equivalent measure, cutting Russian banks off from both Sterling and Dollars.
  • Convincing our EU neighbours to cut Russia off from the SWIFT global payment system.
  • Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot, along with all other Russian airlines, charters and registered aircraft, are banned from the UK.

Military Support

  • Royal Air Force Typhoon jets are part of the NATO air policing from their base in RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, from which they patrol over the Black sea and south-eastern Europe.
  • HMS Trent is already part of a NATO standing maritime group and further Royal Navy ships are being deployed to other NATO standing groups in both the Baltic and the eastern Mediterranean.
  • In addition to the Royal Tank Regiment battlegroup that has been in place in Estonia for the last six months, the Royal Welsh battlegroup has arrived in Estonia earlier than planned to double up our force levels. Those doubled-up force levels will remain indefinitely and will be augmented by the headquarters of 12 Mechanised Brigade, meaning that the United Kingdom will have an armoured brigade in Estonia, reassuring one of our closest NATO allies.
  • In early 2015 Operation Orbital was launched. A UK non-lethal training and capacity building operation with Ukraine, it provides guidance and training to the Ukrainian armed forces through several advisory and short-term training teams. Initially comprising 75 non-combat military personnel, its initial focus was on medical, logistics, general infantry skills and intelligence capacity building.
  • The UK has shipped 2,000 anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and has trained 22,000 of its soldiers.
  • the British Foreign Office is providing up to $500 million in loan guarantees to Kyiv under Multilateral Development Bank lending .

Humanitarian Aid

My team have been helping many people who want to come back to the UK from both Ukraine and Russia over the last ten days and this continues to be our priority. If you know of anyone struggling to come to the UK please do let us have their details as there is a dedicated Home Office drop in for MPs where we can get help from officials on individual cases.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and the Governments’ position will continue to adapt as the situation in Ukraine changes. The Government has already announced changes which will allow an estimated two hundred thousand people to come here immediately and in addition over the last few days The Ukrainian Family Scheme, which will significantly expand the ability of British Nationals and people settled in the UK to bring family members to the UK, extends eligibility to adult parents, grandparents, children over 18, siblings, and all of their immediate family members. Under these schemes entry is free and leave will be granted for at least three years. Any one coming to the UK will be able to work and access public

funds. We will make emergency changes to the Immigration Rules to create this route, which is now possible to access via existing rules using a bespoke online application process . These applications can be made in Ukraine and then as soon as people have left Ukraine they will get the help they need to come direct to the UK.

For those Ukrainians already living and working here we have extended their visas so they do not need to reapply and can automatically stay in the UK.

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We have all seen the terrible images of war in Europe with an attack on a sovereign democracy and a friend. 

I want to assure you that the UK Government is doing all it can to help and was the first country in the world to offer military assistance to Ukraine and we have gone further. 

Firstly the Government has announced punishing sanctions that will strike at the heart of Putin’s financial institutions and military industrial complex. Over 120 businesses and oligarchs, worth hundreds of billions of pounds, have been sanctioned This was carefully co-ordinated with our allies including the US, the EU, and G7 partners. Following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, these sanctions ban Russia’s key industries and companies from raising finance on the UK’s money markets. They will also stop Russian banks, state and privately owned companies borrowing from UK lenders with sanctions on;

  • Freezing the assets of all Russian banks with a full asset freeze on VTB, Russia’s second largest bank with assets totalling £154 billion and 95,000 employees.
  • Rostec. Russia’s biggest defence company, which exports more than £10 billion of arms each year and employs two million people.
  • Tactical Missile Corporation. Russia’s leading supplier of air and sea missiles which played a leading role in its build up of forces against Ukraine.
  • Uralvagonzavod. One of the world’s largest tank manufacturers.
  • Preventing Russia companies from borrowing on the UK markets, effectively ending the ability of those companies closest to Putin to raise finance in the UK. This is in addition to banning the Russian state itself from raising funds in the UK, as previously announced.
  • Stopping Russian banks from accessing Sterling and clearing payments through the UK. This is the UK’s largest financial sanction in terms of the size on institutions targeted and is taken alongside the US who are putting in place an equivalent measure, cutting Russian banks off from both Sterling and Dollars.
  • Convincing our EU neighbours to cut Russia off from the SWIFT global payment system.
  • Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot, along with all other Russian airlines, charters and registered aircraft, will be banned from the UK. 

Secondly we are providing military support

  • Royal Air Force Typhoon jets are part of the NATO air policing from their base in RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, from which they patrol over the Black sea and south-eastern Europe.
  • HMS Trent is already part of a NATO standing maritime group and further Royal Navy ships are being deployed to other NATO standing groups in both the Baltic and the eastern Mediterranean.
  • In addition to the Royal Tank Regiment battlegroup that has been in place in Estonia for the last six months, the Royal Welsh battlegroup will be arriving in Estonia earlier than planned to double up our force levels. Those doubled-up force levels will remain indefinitely and will be augmented by the headquarters of 12 Mechanised Brigade, meaning that the United Kingdom will have an armoured brigade in Estonia, reassuring one of our closest NATO allies.
  • In early 2015 Operation Orbital was launched. A UK non-lethal training and capacity building operation with Ukraine, it provides guidance and training to the Ukrainian armed forces through several advisory and short-term training teams. Initially comprising 75 non-combat military personnel, its initial focus was on medical, logistics, general infantry skills and intelligence capacity building.
  • The UK has shipped 2,000 anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and has trained 22,000 of its soldiers. 
  • the British Foreign Office is providing up to $500 million in loan guarantees to Kyiv under Multilateral Development Bank lending .

We are also supporting those fleeing Ukraine and my team have been helping constituents stuck in Ukraine to leave safely. 

  • Despite some misleading headlines, we want to be clear that we are helping all Ukrainian refugees who wish to come to the UK.