Statement from Community Leaders

Sanja Djeric Kane CEO Kingston Voluntary Action

As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian women and children are escaping from their country to Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova, fleeing from the war Ukraine was forced into by Putin, we are joining the Leader of the Council in a reminder that Kingston is a “welcoming and inclusive place… committed to play its part in providing support and reassurance to those affected”.

We have been watching with horror and shock the invasion of Ukraine by Russia televised across all media. We have been stunned by the speed with which this territory grab has turned into an action which has escalated to involve every country on the planet.

KVA will do all it can to support refugees arriving in the borough by providing support, signposting and advice to our local groups/communities.

We will also be liaising with RBK to make sure communications are circulated. In addition, London Plus is trying to map, connect and prepare relevant organisations for a surge in need and is asking for organisations willing to help.
We condemn the act of Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin in launching this offensive against its neighbour. And we stand ready to support our local organisations, who will be advising, and counselling refugees and locals alike.

John Azah , Chief Executive Officer of Kingston Race and Equalities Council (KREC)

The whole world was shocked when Russia invaded Ukraine. Even with all its institutions, the world was unable to stop this happening and whilst a lot of strategic actions have been taken to get Russia to stop, the impact of many of these may not be felt for a number of years.

And even though we talk about Russia, this is Vladimir Putin’s war. Many Russians will not support the war Putin is fighting and may be facing personal challenges or abuse for something they had no part in deciding or have no responsibility for. So, it is important that we are mindful of how we talk about Russians.

Many innocent people are suffering from being in the war zone and many others are leaving their country as refugees. We need to do everything we can to help them.

This war is unacceptable, and it has to stop.

In Kingston we need to work across agencies and communities to highlight what is happening in Ukraine and stand in solidarity with Ukrainians and all those who are against the war, regardless of where they come from.
KREC wants to work with the Kingston Interfaith Forum, Refugee Action Kingston, Kingston Voluntary Action, the Royal Borough of Kingston and any other agency or individuals, to express our support for those whose country is being destroyed and to implore our Government to do what it can to help Ukraine.

Isik Oguzertem, Director Refugee Action Kingston

The recent developments in Ukraine have shocked us and our community. For many of our staff and clients, the harrowing realities of war are all too fresh, and the images coming out of Ukraine revive painful memories of separation and loss.

As Refugee Action Kingston, we stand firmly in solidarity with the civilians caught up in this needless conflict, and commit to warmly welcoming any and all individuals requiring sanctuary. We will work with our partners in the Council and across the borough to ensure all parties are doing everything possible to make routes to safety possible, and to welcome those fleeing the conflict.

Leader of the Council

Councillor Andreas Kirsch, Leader of Kingston Council, condemns the invasion of Ukraine, expressing deep shock and sadness.

Follow this link to read the full article from Cllr. Kirsch