The flag of Ukraine to be flown outside County Hall, in Chichester

Tuesday, 1 March 2022 09:19

By Karen Dunn - Local Democracy Reporter

During a West Sussex County Council meeting on Monday (February 28), councillors from all sides of the political divide voiced their support for the besieged country and their contempt for Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Chairman Pete Bradbury said he had asked officers to source a Ukrainian flag and would be writing to the country’s ambassador to express the council’s sympathy and support.

He added: “I also intend to write to the Prime Minister to express our support for the taking of a strong united international stance, engaging such measures as may be needed to persuade the Russian government to end its aggressive actions towards Ukraine.”

The leaders of the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour all echoed his views.

Paul Marshall, leader of the council, said: “I think each and every one of us are horrified to see the events unravel in Ukraine – to look at the Russian government – and it’s not the people, it’s the government – taking this awful stance.”

Mr Marshall asked for the chair’s letter to Boris Johnson to include a call for the UK’s stance on refugees to be aligned with that of the EU, to ensure those fleeing the war could find safety.

Kirsty Lord, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said Russia’s actions were ‘a wake up call to all of us how precious democracy is’. She added: “I think we’re all devastated and scared to see this happen – we’d all hoped that it wouldn’t come to this.”

Caroline Baxter, leader of the Labour group, called Russia’s actions ‘an atrocity’ against the freedoms and democracy of Ukraine.

Mr Bradbury added that, when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, people thought they had won the war for a democratic way of living underpinned by free and fair elections.

He added: “We now realise we’ve not won that war – we never will win that war – all we can do is win the battles as they come along.”

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