Russia Ukraine: ‘We are overwhelmed how warm people in Sheffield are’ – Ukrainian woman’s impassioned thanks to city

A Ukrainian woman has thanked Sheffield people for their overwhelming support since Russia invaded her country.

Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 10:18 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 11:07 am

The woman, introduced only as Olena, thanked residents and councillors at a full council meeting.

“We are overwhelmed how warm people in Sheffield are and how supportive the politicians are,” she said.

“We wanted to ask you, please don’t stop supporting Ukraine because the urgent changes are needed on a national level and without that will not be able to reach peace in Ukraine.

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Sheffield councillors of all political parties united together to support Ukraine and condemn the invasion

Russia will not stop themselves. They need others to stop them. That’s exactly as it was when Second World War started and when Nazi Germany at that time wouldn’t stop as well.

“The situation is repeating, history is repeating. As the UK acted and stood up against Nazism at that time, we need joined efforts and we need to stand up together against Nazism again.”

Lord Mayor Gail Smith and Coun Peter Price brought a motion condemning the invasion and supporting Ukraine.

The Lord Mayor said she was shocked and dismayed at what was happening. “I just want to say how sad we all are. Here in Sheffield, we are proud to have become the first City of Sanctuary in this country and our arms are wide open.

Ukranian woman Olena thanks Sheffield residents and councillors for their support at a meeting of the full council

“It’s up to the government now. We need them to allow us to bring people to Sheffield and make them feel safe.”

Sheffield’s links with Donetsk

Coun Price reminded people that Sheffield was twinned with Donetsk back in the 1980s.

“I was on the civic delegation that went in 1986. We were the first city in this country to link with the Soviet Union, as it was, and I’m proud of that.

“One memory was being 1,000 feet down the pit in Donetsk, sat on a pile of coal dust with a very low ceiling, with the miners of Donetsk.

“We sat round drinking sweet tea and a lovely friendship developed, and has continued to this day.

“I’m shocked and stunned at what’s happened. How this has suddenly developed into this horrendous attack is beyond me.

“We give our full support and send our love to all the people in Ukraine and particularly Donetsk. We will do our best to help any people who seek sanctuary.”

Cross party support

Council Leader Terry Fox said the council would publish guidance on how people can support Ukraine.

“As a city we will stand shoulder to shoulder in these times of crisis. Sheffield always stands up for what’s right and it’s heartening to see so many people offering support.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Shaffaq Mohammed said: “We want to send a message to the people of Ukraine that Sheffield stands with you at your time of need. We will do what we can to help.”

And Green Leader Douglas Johnson added: “This is a human issue. This is about people in Sheffield deeply affected by what’s happening right now.

“We must call on the government to do what it can to protect people who can escape from Ukraine, and to support those who can’t.”