Humanitarian appeal for one million people fleeing Ukraine launched in Wales

An official Welsh humanitarian appeal for Ukraine has been launched outside the Senedd.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group of UK charities, will raise funds to help those forced to flee their homes amid escalating conflict in Ukraine.

As many as a million people have fled Ukraine in the last week and many more have been displaced inside the country due to intense fighting following Vladamir Putin's invasion.

DEC Cymru agency members - Save the Children, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Tearfund, Christian Aid, Oxfam Cymru - launched the appeal on Thursday morning with Mark Drakeford, the Welsh Government's social justice minister Jane Hutt, and members of the Ukranian community also present.

A Polish border guard assists refugees from Ukraine as they arrive. Credit: AP

The striking thing about support for the people of Ukraine being shown on the steps of the Senedd in the last week is just how cross-party it is. 

At today's Disasters Emergency Committee launch, Labour ministers and backbench MSs were joined by Conservative, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat politicians.

The message from DEC and from Ukranian people who were in Cardiff Bay was clear: the most helpful thing any of us can do right now is to send money to help those on the ground buy the supplies that are needed. 

Svitlana Phillips, who helps organise the Voice of Ukraine Wales group explained that: "They can help in the way we cannot because obviously they are very big, have a direct logistics setup and they have contacts for example the Red Cross who are already on the ground in the most dangerous parts of Ukraine."

The Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was in Lithuania today, spelling out further steps Western nations were taking to try to pull the plug on the funding President Putin is using for his invasion.

Liz Truss was in Lithuania today, spelling out steps being taken to try to pull the plug on the funding Putin is using for his invasion. Credit: PA

She said the aim was to "degrade the Russian make sure... that the Russian economy is crippled so it is unable to continue to fund Putin and the war machine." 

Direct action like that isn't possible for the Welsh Government but it has committed to helping the aid effort.

Today Mark Drakeford confirmed that the bulk of £4m he announced earlier this week would be channelled through the DEC appeal and he's hoping that amount will be matched by donations from all of us. 

Appeals to raise funds to support this work will be broadcast on ITV Cymru Wales, BBC Cymru Wales, S4C, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky today following each channel's evening news.

Every pound donated by the UK public will be matched by the UK government through its Aid Match scheme up to the value of £20 million.

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