Political leaders and members of the public came together to show the borough’s support for the people of Ukraine this week.
The borough Mayor, Cllr Keith Baker, raised the Ukrainian flag over Shute End on Wednesday (2 March ) and was joined by leaders and senior members of all political groups who voiced their support for Ukraine and condemnation of Russia’s invasion.
Leader of the council, John Halsall, said: “As the leader of a local authority, I cannot but wonder what my counterparts in the Ukraine are living through as they try to support their battered – but not broken – communities through this onslaught. My thoughts are with them and with all Ukrainians and their families wherever they are.”
At present it is not clear what role Wokingham Borough Council will be called on to play in support of refugees coming to the UK from Ukraine, but officers are preparing to provide all the support needed.
With local groups that have been collecting items for Ukraine currently inundated, the council is urging residents who wish to show their support to donate via the Disaster Emergency Committee website. Donations via the Disaster Emergency Committee (or one of its 15 member charities) will be match-funded up to £20m by the UK Government.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Wokingham Borough Council, Cllr Clive Jones, said: “We must continue our tradition of helping people from war-torn areas, as we have done for centuries. The UK and Wokingham must be prepared to help refugees, giving them 3-year visas to stay in the UK and allow them to find work here. #
"Sanctions on Russia must be increased to show that Putin's totally unnecessary aggression will not be tolerated by the free world. The raising of the Ukrainian flag, and it staying there until Russia withdraws its armed forces, is a symbol that Wokingham stands with and supports the Ukrainian people.”
Representative from the Labour group on Wokingham Borough Council, Cllr Shirley Boyt, said: “The bravery shown by the Ukrainian people is extraordinary. There is not much we can do, but by raising the flag we can at least show solidarity with Ukrainians in our borough.”
Leader of the Independent group on Wokingham Borough Council Cllr Jim Frewin said: “Freedom is always worth fighting for and this flag symbolises that Wokingham Borough stands behind Ukraine in its fight for freedom.”