People in South Tyneside urged to show support for Ukrainians as borough marks Ukraine Independence Day - and six months of war

People in South Tyneside are being to show their support for Ukraine as the borough marks the nation’s independence day.

Wednesday, August 24, will mark 31 years since Ukraine declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

It also falls exactly six months since Russia’s invasion, and there are fears the Ukrainians will face particularly savage attacks.

The US state department has issued a security alert warning that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and Government facilities in the coming days.

South Shields Town Hall will be bathed in blue and yellow light to show support for Ukraine.

Towns and cities around the world are showing their continued support for Ukraine, however, including in South Tyneside, where South Shields Town Hall will be lit up in Ukraine’s national colours and its flag will be flown.

People can show their support for the national campaign by posting a video or photo of themselves with a sunflower – Ukraine’s national flower – using #SunflowersForUkraine #StandforFreedom

Councillor Ruth Berkley, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Equalities, said: “The people of Ukraine have seen their homeland destroyed while families have lost loved ones or have been forced to flee their country.

“I would encourage people to get behind this national campaign and wish the people of Ukraine well on their Independence Day. Sunflowers are a symbol of hope and I am sure we all hope for more peaceful days ahead.”

Honour guard soldiers prepare to rise the Ukrainian national flag during State Flag Day celebrations in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

At present South Tyneside has welcomed 50 Ukrainian guests supported by 24 hosts under schemes to give people sheltering from the conflict a place to stay away from harm.

Cllr Berkley said South Tyneside’s Asylum, Migrant and Refugee Team ‘continues to work closely with the voluntary sector and provides ongoing support to those coming into the borough to ensure a successful transition and integration’.

She said the council also works closely with South Tyneside Asylum Seekers and Refugees Church Help (STARCH) and provided space at 16 Barrington Street where volunteers were able to collect, sort and distribute donated items.

More than 115,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK under its visa schemes, according to latest Government figures, including around 81,700 refugees under the sponsorship scheme.