The First Anniversary of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, 24 February 2023
Over the past year we have been horrified by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and by the scale of the violence and destruction there. Many military personnel have suffered and died in combat, and untold numbers of Ukrainian civilians have been targeted in barbaric missile attacks with huge casualties. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has vehemently condemned the human cost of the war in Ukraine, which has left at least 8,000 civilians dead and 13,300 injured over the past 12 months, including thousands of children, in addition to the lives previously lost in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. As the UN acknowledges, these figures are likely to be significantly underestimated. Assessments of the numbers of people displaced either within Ukraine or as refugees in Europe exceed 10 million. The Russian invasion is an affront to international law and St Hugh’s College condemns it unreservedly.
St Hugh’s is supporting College members who are affected by the invasion, Ukrainians first and foremost, but also students of any nationality or background who may be experiencing difficulties as a result of the Russian government’s actions. JCR, MCR, and SCR members have been active in charitable work to provide practical support and financial aid for Ukraine. The College has also sponsored and welcomed a Ukrainian graduate student who has become a valued member of our community. During this academic year we had also hoped to host a Visiting Fellow from Kyiv, in conjunction with the English Faculty, but their arrival has been delayed because of visa difficulties. The latest information suggests that they will be able to join us next term and stay for another year. We very much look forward to learning from our new Fellow and working with them. The College regularly reassesses how it can support Ukraine and welcomes new suggestions.
The Prime Minister is leading the UK in the observance of a minute of silence at 11 a.m. on Friday 24 February 2023. Everyone in St Hugh’s is encouraged to follow that lead and pause at that time to think of our students and staff who are affected by the war, their families, their friends, and all those enduring suffering and hardship as a result of the invasion.