Council leader says Harborough will take in and look after desperate Ukrainian refugees

“We are ready as a council to do what ever we can to support and stand by the Ukrainian people”

By Red Williams
Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 1:51 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 1:52 pm
Harborough council chief Phil King is vowing to take in and look after desperate Ukrainian refugees being forced to flee their war-devastated homeland.
Harborough council chief Phil King is vowing to take in and look after desperate Ukrainian refugees being forced to flee their war-devastated homeland.

Harborough council chief Phil King is vowing to take in and look after desperate Ukrainian refugees being forced to flee their war-devastated homeland.

The district council leader has made his pledge as it emerged that 660,000 people have already fled Ukraine after their country was brutally invaded by Russian military forces last week.

And the European Union is warning that over seven million men, women and children could ultimately flee Ukraine – sparking Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War.

Cllr King told the Harborough Mail this afternoon: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine is absolutely horrific.

“I’ve got no idea what’s going on inside Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s mind but this horrible war is totally mind-boggling – and it’s very frightening.

“We are ready as a council to do what ever we can to support and stand by the Ukrainian people,” said the Conservative council boss.

“We have sent a letter to the Ukrainian ambassador in London expressing our total solidarity with their people.

“Our Government is now drawing up its policy on taking in people from Ukraine seeking safe refuge here in the UK.

“We are fully prepared to do our bit by helping to put up and accommodate refugees here in Harborough.

“Just as we did with people who fled here to Britain from Afghanistan last summer and autumn after it was taken over by the Taliban.

“The harrowing scenes that we are seeing of the fighting and the death and destruction in Ukraine on our TVs day in day out are just so awful,” said Cllr King.

“They are heartbreaking.

“Thousands of people have already been killed – and many more maimed both physically and mentally for life.

“We are all living in a very dangerous time for Europe and the whole world.

“But it is very heartening to see that so many countries have come together to stand up to Putin.

“And I know that both Harborough District Council and the people of Harborough will do all that we can to get behind the people of Ukraine.”

Backing him up, Cllr Phil Knowles, who leads the Liberal Democrats on the council, told the Mail: “I was privileged to sign the letter that our council sent to Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK at the end of last week.

“Along with every other right-thinking person I am truly appalled by the terrifying death toll and the sheer scale of damage that we are seeing in Ukraine.

“We have to do everything that we can to help and support refugees coming here from Ukraine as they look to us to give them a safe haven.

“We extend the welcoming hand of friendship to them all,” said Cllr Knowles.

“We have a responsibility to look after and stand alongside these terrified men, women and children from Ukraine as they flee their shattered homeland as it’s torn apart.

“Our government, NATO and fellow European countries are doing all they can to support the democratically-elected government of Ukraine after their independent country’s been invaded by massive Russian armed forces.

“But this is a very difficult line to tread militarily because none of us wants World War Three to erupt.

“We do have to pull out all the stops to tighten sanctions and constraints hitting the Russian economy.

“And I’m also imploring people across Harborough to support appeals to send emergency medical aid and other critical supplies to help the embattled people of Ukraine,” said Cllr Knowles.