Welsh Government to provide £4m in financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine

Mr Drakeford also said that Wales, as a Nation of Sanctuary, stands ready to welcome people fleeing Ukraine

The Welsh Government will provide £4 million in financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

The decision follows widespread condemnation from across Wales at Vladamir Putin's decision to invade the country.

On Monday (February 28), close to 300 people met outside the Senedd to rally against Russian aggression and in solidarity with Ukrainians.

Addressing an urgent question by Jack Sargeant in the Welsh Parliament on Tuesday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the money would be made available to those in desperate need.

Mr Drakeford said: “We stand in support of the Ukrainian people who are bravely resisting this unprovoked and brutal act of war.

“The Welsh Government will provide £4m in financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, which will help to provide crucial support to many who are in desperate need. We are also assessing what surplus medical equipment could usefully be sent to the country.

“Wales, as a Nation of Sanctuary, stands ready to welcome people fleeing Ukraine. Tomorrow we will be holding urgent discussions with local authority leaders to ensure preparations are in place to accept refugees.

“I have also written to the Prime Minister urging the UK Government to strengthen current arrangements to enable Ukrainian citizens to come to the UK quickly and safely. It is vital people can seek safe sanctuary here without bureaucracy delaying that process.

“The UK Government must honour its duty to allow people to seek safety in situations such as those we are all witnessing today with great sadness and repulsion.”

The attack on Ukraine has already caused the displacement of close to 500,000 Ukrainians from their homes and has been described as possibly the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe for decades.

Mick Antoniw, the Welsh Government's Ukrainian-born Counsel General, also took the opportunity to thank the people of Wales for their support to date.

Welcoming the International Criminal Court's announcement that it believes there is a "reasonable basis to believe" that crimes occurred in Ukraine, Mr Antoniw was met with a standing ovation as he finished his contribution with two lines of Ukrainian.

In the early hours of Tuesday, Ukraine's second-largest city was rocked by more Russian blasts in a second day of bombardment, with the country's president condemning the missile strike of a government building an act of "undisguised terror".

The eastern city of Kharkiv, was pounded by more shelling with footage showing apartment buildings shaken by repeated, powerful explosions.

On Tuesday morning, Russian military targeted the city's main Freedom Square, hitting a Soviet-era government administrative building and residential blocks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said of the attack: “Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget... This is state terrorism of the Russian Federation."