Wales plans to welcome refugees as Drakeford pledges £4m in aid to Ukraine

First Minister Mark Drakeford said he would be speaking about the Russia-Ukraine conflict on his visit to Brussels.

01 March 2022

Mark Drakeford has said he is ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees to Wales as he pledged £4 million in financial and humanitarian aid to the country.

Wales’s First Minister said he is “gravely concerned about the horrific and appalling situation in the Ukraine” and plans to discuss Russia’s brutal invasion on his visit to Brussels this week.

Mr Drakeford is in the Belgian capital for a series of meetings with diplomats and parliamentarians initially set up to celebrate St David’s Day and to reaffirm the country’s relationships with key European nations and regions, the Welsh Government said on Tuesday.

He has made it clear that given ongoing events, the conflict which has broken out in Europe will be at the centre of discussions.

“We stand in support of the Ukrainian people who are bravely resisting this unprovoked and brutal act of war,” Mr Drakeford said earlier on Tuesday.

“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.”

Speaking about his visit across the Channel, he said: “Wales’s European identity matters now perhaps more than ever. I want to emphasise our Welsh identity as a European nation sharing the values of freedom, free speech and a peaceful European way of life.”

The Welsh Government has said work is being carried out to measure the exposure of local government pension funds in Wales to Russian investments and financial products.

It urged anyone who can help to donate to the British Red Cross, Unicef UK or to the UNHCR UK.

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