Council leaders address 'attack on democracy' as horror unfolds in Ukraine

Sharon Taylor and Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg have spoken on the unfolding situation in Ukraine

Sharon Taylor and Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg have spoken on the unfolding situation in Ukraine - Credit: Rebecca Stewart/Stevenage Borough Council

As the terrifying situation in Ukraine unfolds - with Russian president Vladimir Putin launching a full scale invasion yesterday morning - council leaders in Stevenage and North Herts have said they stand with Ukraine.

Sanctions against Russia from the international community have been announced, including from Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

It's recently been reported that Kyiv residents who wish to defend the Ukraine capital have been supplied with weapons. 

North Herts Council leader Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg said: "We are all shocked and appalled by the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s forces.

"Ukraine is a proud sovereign European nation. As I watch events unfold I am increasingly reminded of the rhetoric and actions of the Ukrainian Civil War of 1917–1921.

"These are incredibly uncertain and dangerous times for Ukraine and the world.

"The true reasons behind the Russian government’s actions may never be known. But the consequences of these actions are tragically all too clear. And North Herts Council will do all it can, limited as it may be, to support those affected by this new war in Europe.

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"There are already consequences for us all as a result of this unnecessary war, with cyber-attacks more likely. I urge all organisations to review their security and ensure their systems are robust.

"An attack on democracy in Europe is an attack on us all. I stand with the people of Ukraine and Russia in defiance of this attack on democracy."

Sharon Taylor said at Stevenage Borough Council's budget meeting last night: "We meet tonight at the end of a day when the gravest and most dangerous circumstances face the world that we have seen in over 75 years.

"As Vladimir Putin launches a tyrannical assault on freedom, democracy and self-determination in an aggressive and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine, it is clear that the urgent diplomatic efforts of the last weeks have failed.

"They have not deterred him and we once again face the prospect of bloody, destructive and tragic war at the front door of Europe.

"Foreign affairs are not, of course, the business of this council but humanitarian issues are and I hope we can stand together tonight in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and send them our prayers and love.

"The presence of war in Europe truly puts everything else we do into perspective, but nothing plays more into Putin’s hands than to allow his antics to disrupt our peaceful democracy.

"Therefore, we shall carry on with our business tonight and going forward. He may be terrified of democracy, but it is our way of life and we cherish and celebrate that every time we meet."