As part of the event series, the embassies organised a joint film screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”. The screening was introduced by Deputy Head of Mission Caitlin Jones. You can read the full transcript of her introduction below.
Your Excellencies, dear guests,
As my esteemed colleagues have highlighted, our Embassies have come together to try to ensure that we don’t lose sight of the crisis in Ukraine in the midst of so many other troubling happenings in the world.
Sadly, recent events in Ukraine are of a magnitude which means they must remain at the forefront of our minds. Since fighting started we have seen over 8,000 killed and about 18,000 injured. Around 1.4 million people have been displaced within Ukraine and an estimated 2 million people living in areas near to government and separatist fighting.
These are staggering figures. And they reiterate the great need for Russia to recognise and respect Ukraine’s independence, territorial integrity, and its right to take sovereign decisions.
Although not part of the Minsk negotiations, the UK has played a leading role in the EU and NATO on Ukraine. We have consistently argued for a strong response to Russia’s actions, pressing for strong sanctions in the EU and increasing our contribution to NATO assurance measures in Eastern Europe. The UK is delivering a £10m technical assistance programme in support of political and economic reform in Ukraine; we’ve committed £16.4 million worth of humanitarian support, targeted to reach the most vulnerable, including specifically women and girls; and an additional £9m worth of support to Ukraine through our Conflict Pool programme last financial year.
The EU, rightly, linked its approach on sanctions to full implementation of the Minsk agreements. We are sympathetic to the economic consequences that some member states, and we ourselves, were and are experiencing as a result. But we believe we would pay a much bigger collective price if we did not respond in robust terms to the way in which another country was destabilising European security and threatening other countries’ sovereignty.
Let me conclude with quote from Winston Churchill who said:
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Thank you for your attention, I hope you’ll enjoy the film.