Amongst a range of events to mark the anniversary of Russia’s all-out invasion the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign held a public meeting in Parliament hosted by Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP on 21 February.  The event was packed to hear platform which included Oksana Holota of the KVPU (Confederation of Free Trade Unions),  Yuliya Yurchenko of Sotsialny Rukh (Social Movement) and Pavlo Holota of NGPU (Independent Union of Mineworkers).  A range of speakers from the UK Labour movement declared their commitment to ongoing to solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

[Pavlo Holota of the Independent Union of Mineworkers said: “I feel sorry for ppl who think Russia will stop at conquering Ukraine; what if there were missiles flying at you, factories bombed into nothing; if we don’t stop this evil it will spread”.. Pavel described how trade unions were now engaged in welfare for combatants, refugees- says Ukrainian union activists were now in trenches – calling for drones, vehicles, supplies …

Oksana Holota of Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine – thanked the UK for weapons donated, and appealed to the Labour Movement that their members at front are calling for more off-road vehicles and direct aid.

GMB General Secretary Gary Smith slammed the “rump of British Stalinism” and pacifists over Ukraine – and accusing Tories of putting energy security at risk. He proclaimed his trade union’s unequivocal solidarity with Ukraine’s resistance. He called out the Tory government which has acted hand-in-hand with crony capitalists & Russian oligarch wealth that made Russia’s war possible.

TUC Presidentm Maria Exall said some in UK labour movement are in denial about Ukraine and have fallen for misinformation. She said the TUC condemns Russian aggression . She said “Ukraine is fighting for its future. But it’s also fighting for all our futures”. She remined us that Ukraine’s resistance against Russia is a feminist fight, a fight for LGBTQI+ rights & a fight against the international rise of the far right. She emphasised the solidarity of the British labour movement for Ukraine’s resistance. Maria Exall also brings greetings from her union CWU.

Assistant General Secretary ASLEF condemned left opponents of arms to Ukraine a “useful idiots” saying that – as a trade unionist he’s an anti-imperialist and about his visit to Ukraine last year and Ukrainian railworkers’ heroism. ‘I support the Ukrainian resistance because I’m an anti-imperialist. I’m an anti-imperialist because I’m a trade unionist.’

John McDonnell MP said “I’ve opposed every imperialist aggression since in entered Parliament – that’s why I gave solidarity to Ukraine – and support weapons to defend themselves – the only hope for peace is Ukrainian forces fend off the assault that’s coming…” He explained why he is taking his lead from socialists and trade unionists in Ukraine. He said “yes, we want peace. But not peace determined by an invader – it has to be peace with freedom. The hope for peace is a Ukrainian victory.”

Martin Cavanagh, deputy president of civil service union PCS said that “On behalf of my union I unambiguously condemn the Russian invasion and demand immediate Russian withdrawal. We support the Ukrainian people resisting and fighting to drive out the occupiers.” “As a campaign, USC supports weapons and military aid to Ukraine. That doesn’t mean we support higher UK defence spending.

Nadia Whittome MP called for Amplifying  voices of Ukrainian workers & trade unionists. To Cancel Ukraine’s debt to Stop neoliberal labour reforms in and to global reliance on fossil fuels to seize the assets of Russian oligarchs