‘We are with you Ukraine’

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan renews support to Ukraine. New webpage launched by City Hall will connect Londoners eager to contribute financially with organisations providing vital humanitarian support to Ukrainians in need

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said London will support Ukraine at any cost as Russia’s aggression enters its second week. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians live in the UK, and many demonstrated in central London last weekend to show their support for the country and express disgust at the despicable actions of Putin’s regime.

The mayor reiterated that London stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine. He met Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK at the Ukrainian Institute in London to discuss the deepening crisis. He extended the offer of assistance on behalf of all Londoners and highlight the need for safe passage for Ukrainian refugees.

“Londoners stand in solidarity with the brave people of Ukraine and we will do all we can to support organisations working here and overseas to help those fleeing Putin’s war,” said the Mayor.  “The UN estimates this conflict could produce as many as four million Ukrainian refugees and London stands ready to play its part in helping those who have lost so much. This must now be backed by the Government providing fully-funded and accessible routes for Ukrainians wishing to seek sanctuary here.”

Sadiq commissioned a new webpage be built in response to the crisis in Ukraine featuring a list of organisations supporting those affected. This includes charities and community groups, with a particular focus on London-based organisations in need of funding. The new resource will help signpost concerned Londoners to organisations including the British Red Cross and other organisations, where they can contribute financially to help meet the most pressing needs on the ground.

The Mayor is also urging the Government to open up safe routes for Ukrainians seeking refuge in the UK. Sadiq is working with his partners in the charity and voluntary sector and alongside councils to ensure support is available to Ukrainian communities impacted by the conflict.

The Government has announced plans to establish a humanitarian sponsorship pathway, and the Mayor is urging Ministers to ensure that these proposals are matched by a comprehensive funding offer and full entitlement to public benefits. This will ensure that refugees can be welcomed with open arms and that the UK’s response matches the scale of the crisis unfolding in Ukraine.

The Mayor has also called for much more to be done to tackle London’s unfortunate reputation as a centre for international money laundering by oligarchs allied to Putin, including setting out plans for the seizure of property belonging to those with the closest ties to the Russian president. It appears that Ministers have now heeded these calls and are fast-tracking legislation to target money-laundering by foreign oligarchs.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan with Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK

The Economic Crime Bill is set to include a new register that will mean foreign owners of UK property must declare and verify their identities with Companies House. However, the Mayor shares Transparency International’s fears (1) that the proposed legislation contains a number of loopholes, including an 18-month transition period and an exemption for the 6,000 UK properties bought by overseas buyers more than 20 years ago. The Mayor also knows these new rules will count for nothing if the authorities do not have the resources to enforce them. Therefore, the Mayor is also calling for a major funding boost to the National Crime Agency and the Serious Fraud Office so that they can properly investigate and enforce current laws.

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