Ukraine-Russia: Sheffield councillors unite in cross-party support for Ukrainians

Sheffield councillors gathered to show solidarity with Ukrainians and reaffirm the city’s commitment to do all it can to help refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion.
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Sheffield – which is twinned with Donetsk in Ukraine – has shown its support for Ukrainians with protests, donations, messages of support and by lighting the Town Hall in the colours of their flag since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion last Thursday.

Today, councillors from all parties joined together with Ukrainians outside Ponds Forge holding flags and sunflowers and gave speeches ahead of a budget full council meeting.

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Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.
Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.
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The authority unanimously reaffirmed its commitment to supporting refugees in an emergency motion during the meeting, and councillor Terry Fox said the council will keep pushing the government to provide better sanctuary across the UK.

Labour councillor Ben Miskell encouraged as many councillors as possible to join together before the meeting.

He said: “Today councillors in Sheffield came together, across the political divide to show that we are all united against Putin’s attack on Ukraine.

“The scenes of bloodshed in our sister city of Donetsk and around Ukraine demand united action and that’s why we are all working together to provide whatever assistance is needed.

Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.
Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.
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“Ukrainians have a right to live a peaceful, democratic life and dictate their own future. We here in Sheffield will play our part and step up to help them.”

Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of Sheffield Liberal Democrats, said the last part of the emergency motion – stating the city is willing and open to welcome those fleeing the invasion – is really important for Sheffield as the first city of sanctuary.

He added: “This is the first big opportunity for all 84 councillors in the city to come together and unite to show our support for the people in Ukraine who are going through some really difficult times, in particular the Ukrainian community here who have loved ones back in their home country to show that they are not alone.

“We already showed our generosity with the food collection up at Nethergreen, it was absolutely phenomenal. They didn’t have any room left, it was all over the footpaths. That just goes to show the generosity that we as a city have.

Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.
Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.
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“Even at the rally on Sunday people were approaching me to say ‘we have a spare room in our house, how can we help?’

“We as a city, council and local voluntary sector have always been there for the asylum seeker community.

“We have got a role to play now to step up and start to coordinate.”

Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.
Sheffield councillors gathered outside Ponds Forge with flags and sunflowers ahead of a full council meeting to show solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.

Councillor Douglas Johnson, leader of Sheffield Green Party, said: “We have seen unparalleled, unjustified aggression. It’s unthinkable that one country just invades another except of course it does happen. We have got the shock of seeing it again now in the very visible sense in the news there is a very clear aggressor here.

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“Obviously, we want to show solidarity with Ukraine, and the Ukrainian people.

“A big issue is of course there are a number of Ukrainian people in Sheffield, there are also a number of Russian people and it is very important that we show respect for everyone living in Sheffield. We don’t want any attacks on people for being Russian, for instance, and it’s important that we maintain that respect.

“What we are seeing is military aggression principally on civilians and that has got to be condemned outright without caveats.”