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Reflections on a year of war in Ukraine

Ukraine - we stand together

Published: Wednesday, 22nd February 2023

On 24 February it will be a year since President Putin began his illegal invasion of Ukraine, an act that has had global consequences.

On 24 February it will be a year since President Putin began his illegal invasion of Ukraine, an act that has had global consequences.

A national moment of reflection is planned on Friday morning at 11 o’clock, which King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council will be observing. The council will be flying the Ukraine flag and the Corn Exchange and the Custom House will be lit up in the colours of the flag in the evening.

Locally around 400 refugees have been helped by the borough council and its partners during the past year, after escaping the violent destruction of their homes and lives.

Our councillors have been reflecting on what the war has meant for the people who have sought refuge here, the UK generally and our borough itself.

Council leader, Cllr Stuart Dark MBE, said:

“From the beginning, when we opened our welcome centre within weeks of the start of the conflict, the council has done everything it can to make Ukrainian refugees feel safe and welcome here and we will continue this work for as long as it is needed.

“We have had fantastic support from our partners, including the Hanseatic Union, DWP, health colleagues and volunteers, and numerous members of our community have opened their homes.

“As a result, many of our new residents are working, volunteering and contributing generally to the community. Thank you west Norfolk.”

Cllr Terry Parish, leader of the council’s Group of Independents, said:

“An anniversary of the start of a war is nothing to celebrate but should be a reason for us to reflect on the cost to Ukrainians in the loss of their lives and the destruction of their homes and infrastructure.

“That some Ukrainians and their children have found a positive refuge in West Norfolk is a tribute to their personal resilience and to those residents and officials who have made it possible.  I thank all of those involved. Ukrayina naviky!”

Cllr Charles Joyce, leader of the council’s Labour Group, said:

“Most of us are fortunate in that we can only imagine what the people of Ukraine are going through as foreign forces occupy their country, tearing apart their lives and their families.

“Actions speak louder than words.  Through their action people in West Norfolk have shown they will not cross on the other side of the road.   The indomitable spirit lives in West Norfolk and the people of Ukraine will achieve their hopes that one day they will be able live in peace in the land they call home.  Until that day comes, we say to people from Ukraine: 'Welcome friend'.”

As the war reaches the end of its first year the borough council is also taking the opportunity to let people know that there are still many ways in which they can help those who have fled their homeland, for example by becoming hosts, gifting clothes and toys, volunteering or extending the hand of friendship.

Anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a host should do so at Anyone who can offer other types of help can email

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