Coventry's Ukrainians welcome removal of Russian flag from Council House and shed light on their history in the City - The Coventry Observer

Coventry's Ukrainians welcome removal of Russian flag from Council House and shed light on their history in the City

Coventry Editorial 23rd Feb, 2022   0

THE RUSSIAN Federation flag has been taken down from Coventry Council House after a request by the city’s branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB).

Dr Mario Kosmirak, Chair of the AUGB Coventry AUGB branch, and Roman Leshchyshyn this afternoon met with city council leader Coun George Duggins, Lord Mayor of Coventry, Coun John McNicholas, Coun Gary Ridley and Coun Peter Male.

AUGB representatives said – in light of Russia’s renewed aggression against Ukraine – to display the country’s flag would undermine Coventry’s reputation as a City of Peace and Reconciliation.

Dr Kosmirak added: ““We were pleased to hear from Coun George Duggins that he had issued an instruction for the Russian Federation flag to be removed and that he would be writing to the Mayor of Volgograd to express the City of Coventry’s condemnation of the Russian Federation’s threats and military actions against Ukraine.

“In our conversations with the councillors we shared our community’s concerns about the safety of relatives and friends in Ukraine and, more generally, about the future of a sovereign and democratic Ukraine.

“We were pleased to hear that these concerns were shared and that there was a common understanding of what was happening in Eastern Europe.

“The Ukrainian Community of Coventry appreciates the solidary demonstrated by the City Council and we shall share this with friends in Ukraine.

“We continue to hope for a peaceful outcome.”

How the Ukrainian Community in Coventry began

The Ukrainian Community in Coventry began in 1947 with the arrival of people displaced by the Second World War.

Ukrainians and other displaced people were initially housed in workers’ hostels in and around the City.

The Ukrainians worked in the factories of Courtaulds, Dunlop, Jaguar and in the coal mines around Nuneaton.

The community was concentrated in Foleshill and Radford and the Ukrainian Catholic Church is located in Broad Street.

In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed. Ukraine and other countries declared their independence.

Since 1991 Ukrainians have been working to build a country that is democratic, prosperous, free.

The countries of Europe are the standard to which Ukraine aspires.

In 2014, following public protests and shootings, the then President of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych fled the country to Russia.

Beginning in 2014 the Russian Federation annexed Crimea and supported pro-Russian separatists to seize regional centres in Eastern Ukraine.

The Russian Federation intervened militarily.

A cease fire was arranged by the intervention of France and Germany. 1.5million people were displaced.

Talks with the Russian Federation, brokered by Germany and France, failed to produce any meaningful progress in restoring the occupied territories to Ukraine.

On February 21, 2022 President Putin of the Russian Federation announced recognition of the occupied territories as independent states, approved the overt entry of Russian military forces as ‘peace-keepers’ – a claim rubbished by the US and other Western countries.

Over 14,000 Ukrainian civilians and military personnel have died since the conflict began in 2014.

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