Talking Politics with Holly Lynch MP: Anniversary of Russia’s attack on Ukraine is sombre milestone

Holly Lynch MP at Halifax MinsterHolly Lynch MP at Halifax Minster
Holly Lynch MP at Halifax Minster
​​As we move into the second year of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, Calderdale hosted a vigil at Halifax Minster organised by the Halifax branch of the Association of Ukrainians of Great Britain.

I was pleased to see so many people there in solidarity with those from Ukraine who have made Calderdale their home, as well as those of Ukrainian heritage who experience the war so acutely.

The one-year anniversary of Russia’s attack is a sombre milestone, not a measure which anyone wants to celebrate. Yet it is a testament to the courage and resilience of Ukraine’s leadership and its people that Kyiv and Ukraine still stand strong.

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One year on, we are reminded of just how much the people of Ukraine have been asked to sacrifice, as they fight for the basic freedoms that my generation have taken for granted, thinking we would never see war like this again in Europe.

As Labour’s shadow security minister, I was invited to attend the Munich Security Conference recently where world leaders including vice-president Kamala Harris, Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz, the UK prime minister Rishi Sunak and others met to discuss the challenges we collectively face and hear directly from president Zelenskyy from Kyiv via video link, just one week after we had the privilege of hearing him address parliament.

Internationally, the world is changing and there will be difficult times ahead. I have been leading for Labour on the national security bill which seeks to strengthen and protect our democracy and communities from hostile state threats on a number of different fronts.

We have some of the best law enforcement and security services in the world, but when counter terrorism policing say they have intervened in 15 kidnap and assassination plots from Iran in the UK since January of last year, we know that they need new powers and resources to respond to this utterly unacceptable conduct.

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As we have already seen, our own economic and energy security cannot be entirely insulated from these international shifts and emerging state threats, and so global Britain has to step up and lead the way, as it has done before. If we stand for a rules based international order based on freedom and democracy, then we owe it to Ukraine, which is fighting tyranny every day, to support them to victory and end this war as soon as possible.