Ashfield’s ‘hearts and homes are open’ to people impacted by war in Ukraine

The leader of Ashfield Council has said the district’s ‘hearts and homes’ are open to the people of Ukraine as they battle the ‘beast of war on their doorstep’.

By Andrew Topping
Friday, 4th March 2022, 3:09 pm

In a speech at the start of the latest council meeting, Coun Jason Zadrozny, council leader, praised the response of Ashfield residents and confirmed the authority will help those hit by the crisis.

He said residents and businesses have already stepped up to show their support, with donation spots located in various parts of the district including at Ashfield Fire Station in Kirkby.

And he criticised Russia for launching the war in Ukraine, drawing parallels with the start of the Second World War in 1939.

Kyril Kolcheryn, aged 21, walks near a house destroyed by shelling in the town of Stoyanka, west of Kiev, Ukraine.

Coun Zadrozny, whose family originated from Poland, also drew from stories of his grandparents and described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a ‘tyrant, a liar, a war criminal and a coward’.

He said: “As someone who sat at his grandmother’s knee listening to heartwrenching tales of her time in the Dachau prisoner of war camp, or my grandfather’s talk of his time liberating the ghettos and war camps littering Eastern Europe, we now see 1939 happening all over again.

“This is a genocide of those who dare to dream of freedom, of a democratic future where the will of the people is the most important consideration – not the will of an ageing tyrant desperate to secure his own legacy in his last days.

“Vulnerable people will be in desperate need of clothing, food, shelter and protection – but I’m proud to say within Ashfield, residents, too, have taken to the task of donating whatever they can to help.

“I want to thank all of those who are helping. In solidarity with this, I want to make it clear we stand here ready as an authority to help in whatever way we can.

“Whether that be food, shelter or clothing, we are here to help and we refuse to stand by and let the history books say when the time came we didn’t help.

“Ukraine – Ashfield stands with you, Ashfield’s residents and their prayers are with you, Ashfield Council is with you and our hearts and our homes are open to you.

“We will do what we can, and what we must, to protect you from the beast of war on your doorstep. We will stand resolutely and steadfastly by your side until you triumph.”

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‘We stand with Ukraine’

He said he has received requests from Unicef and Oxfam stating the ‘most helpful thing we can do’ now is monetary donations.

Other councillors also raised concerns about the conflict.

Coun Rachel Madden, who represents Annesley and Kirkby Woodhouse, said: “It is horrific what is happening in Ukraine and it puts into shade what we are arguing about in this chamber.

“We stand with Ukraine, full stop. I also stand by the brave people in Belarus and Russia who, despite the threat of being brutally arrested, tortured, imprisoned, continue to protest across their countries.

“But there’s only one person to blame for all this – Vladimir Putin. I call on our Government, urge them, to do more and quicker. Why are we lagging behind? We need to stop Putin and his friends.”

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