Liverpool ready to offer sanctuary to Ukraine refugees as council tells government to ‘match its words with actions’

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The city has made a show of solidarity as it stands ready to support the people of invaded nation.

Liverpool councillors condemned the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine as a cross-party motion was backed unanimously at the Town Hall condemning the attacks that began last week.

The motion – put forward by leaders of the city’s Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and Liberal groups – said Liverpool again stands ready to offer its support and sanctuary to those in Ukraine fleeing war and called on the UK government to do more and offer sanctuary to Ukrainians in their hour of need.

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There were emotional scenes as Taras Khomych, pastor from the city’s Ukrainian Catholic Parish called on Liverpool to pray for Ukraine and detailed links between his country and the North West going back a century.

Rev Dr Taras KhomychRev Dr Taras Khomych
Rev Dr Taras Khomych

He said “no words can express the emotions we feel at what has been going on in our country” in a war on “human values, on democracy and decency.”

The community had been “shattered” by the conflict and watching it unfold had been “completely surreal.”

Pastor Khomych, whose remarks received a standing ovation, said he had been moved by the support and prayers from the people of Liverpool.

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What Liverpool’s leaders have said about Russia-Ukraine war

Mayor Joanne Anderson condemned the “unprovoked” assault by Russia and said “the spectre of war casts a shadow over Europe.”

She added that Liverpool stands in solidarity with Ukraine and will do all it can to support those fleeing the country, with reserves earmarked for refugees.

Cllr Richard Kemp, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said he was proud to stand under the Ukrainian flag that flew above the Town Hall and called on Liverpool to renew its partnership with the city of Odessa.

Ukraine flag at St George’s Hall Liverpool. Image: @lpoolcouncil/twitterUkraine flag at St George’s Hall Liverpool. Image: @lpoolcouncil/twitter
Ukraine flag at St George’s Hall Liverpool. Image: @lpoolcouncil/twitter

Those remarks were seconded by Cllr Tom Crone, Green Party group leader, who said: “I’m proud here in Liverpool that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine.”

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Cllr Barry Kushner, whose grandparents moved from Ukraine in 1914, also moved the motion.

He said to see war breaking out has been “shocking” in a place that is “so close to me and my heart.”

Government must do more

The motion also called on the UK Government “to match its words with actions and rise to meet this unprecedented challenge” and said Whitehall’s current “offer of assistance restricts access only to those with close family at this stage does not go far enough and risks separating wider families and causing further distress at this most challenging of times.”

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