Edinburgh stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine one year on - Cammy Day
In the year that has passed since it is estimated by the UN High Commission for Refugees that over 8 million Ukrainians have been displaced and forced to seek sanctuary abroad.
This represents one of the largest humanitarian crises on the continent since the end of the Second World War.
As Kyiv’s twin city I am hugely proud of the role that Edinburgh has played in helping those fleeing Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine in the past year. Residents, volunteers, and Council colleagues have worked steadfastly and compassionately to help our new arrivals opening their hearts and in many cases their homes. Since February 2022, we have welcomed over 10,000 Ukrainians through our Welcome Hub at Gogarburn House.
Support from individuals and businesses have also been exceptional. This is a testament to the spirit of our capital city and conveys the very best qualities of our citizens.
In March 2022, councillors voted unanimously to award the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh to the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, and Mayor Vitali Klitschko of Kyiv. I hope that they will be able to collect these in person once there is peace in Ukraine.
On Friday, alongside the Lord Provost Robert Aldridge, Minister with Special Responsibility for Refugees from Ukraine Neil Gray MSP, and other official representatives, I will be laying a wreath of remembrance at the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle. We will also mark the national moment of silence alongside the UK Government at 11am.
The ‘Ukraine Forever’ events programme is already underway alongside our partners, with diverse events across the city to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s illegal full-scale war against Ukraine.
From a fundraiser for Hospitallers paramedic charity tomorrow evening, at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, to a march in support of Ukraine from Edinburgh Castle to Scottish Parliament (Saturday), and a night of music with Scottish and Ukrainian artists at the Usher Hall (Sunday), there are many ways for residents and visitors to commemorate those who have fallen in the defence of Ukraine.
The full programme of events is listed on the Council website.
I would like to pay tribute to all our colleagues, partners, and citizens who have worked tirelessly over the past year on the effort to receive and assimilate Ukrainians into life here in Edinburgh. I would also like to stress to the over 3000 Ukrainians who have made their new lives here in Edinburgh that you have our unwavering support and solidarity.
I wholeheartedly hope that the next year will bring a lasting peace and an end to this illegal full-scale war against Ukraine by Russia.
Cammy Day is leader of City of Edinburgh Council