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Ukraine crisis: ABC Council drawing up action plan to help those in need

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is to develop a community action plan to ensure local aid gets to where it is needed to support those fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The move was confirmed by Council’s Lord Mayor, Alderman Glenn Barr who said the local authority “stand united and steadfast with the people of Ukraine and the brave Russian citizens who are protesting a war they do not want”.

“Never let it be forgotten it was Russian blood that enabled us to defeat Nazism but let us not forget that this is Putin’s war,” said the Lord Mayor.

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“As we speak woman and children, families, pensioners and civilians all over the Ukraine are sheltering from Putin’s military onslaught.

Kyiv residents queue for buses out of the city as news breaks that Russia has invaded Ukraine.

“A European country that is home to 44 million people is being attacked. Hundreds and thousands are now refugees. It was an unprovoked attack, an unjustified war and this Council condemns it.

“To the people of Ukraine, they say that only heroes wear capes but I can say that today’s heroes are that of your President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the leaders of the Ukraine who have stayed steadfast with your people.

“I salute him and your leaders and my comrades in the Ukrainian armed forces and of course, the citizens of the Ukraine. Thank you and glory to Ukraine.”

SDLP group leader, Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon told the chamber “Putin’s gangster regime” and warned that democracy can not be taken for granted.

A nine-year-old refugee from Kyiv arrives with his pet dog at the Hungarian border town of Zahony on a train that has come from Ukraine on March 02. Refugees from Ukraine have fled into neighbouring countries such as Hungary, forming long queues at border crossings, after Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine on February 24. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images).

“My party and I welcome the measures taken by the EU, they are long overdue but we should not take democracy for granted,” he said.

“We might not like what the electorate deal us but we are lucky to have that choice.

“As a father and husband I cannot imagine what these men who are leaving their families at the borders as they turn back to fight and defend their country.

“I want to commend the community efforts we have seen right across our borough, groups are coming forward and sending clothing and non-perishable goods to those fleeing this invasion.”

Sinn Fein’s group leader, Councillor Liam Mackle said “all right thinking  people will condemn” this Russian aggression and called on Russian diplomats in both Dublin and London to be expelled.

“Putin’s imperialist ambitions have caused a humanitarian disaster,” he said.

“He must withdraw his troops immediately. Failure to do so must be met with the strongest sanctions possible and a united response. Every country in Europe must offer whatever humanitarian support they can to the people of Ukraine including opening borders to those fleeing the conflict.

“Diplomats in Dublin and London should be expelled. Hopefully the negotiation process that has begun will lead to de-escalation but ultimately it will be the ordinary men and women and children who suffer in this conflict and our thoughts and prayers go out to them all and we pray for a peaceful and speedy resolution.”

DUP representative, Alderman Stephen Moutray described Putin as a “despot” and said he has nothing but admiration for Ukraine’s neighbours in Hungary, Moldova and Poland who have opened their borders to these refugees.

“I have nothing but admiration for Ukraine’s neighbours that have already risen to the challenge,” he said.

“Their generosity of spirit is a shining light to all of us in the western world. We must stand together to help the vulnerable in Ukraine in their time of unprecedented need.

“Over the past few days many in our Province have commenced efforts to provide basics already and they are to be commended. I ask that this council stands ready to help in any way that it can.”

Alliance Party Councillor Peter Lavery said it was clear the chamber is united with the brave people of Ukraine and said he “completely supports” the council developing an action plan.

Independent councillor Paul Berry described said the invasion was wrong and described it as “disgusting” and evil”.

UUP councillor Sam Nicholson called for the violence to stop immediately and said he is glad to see the development of an action plan is to begin.

“Villages and towns have been decimated, it is shocking and I am glad this community action plan is to be initiated,” he said

“We are all heartbroken at what is going on and I hope and pray the talks will result in a speedy and peaceful resolution. Hopefully we can make a difference and help in whatever way we can.”

 

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