War in Ukraine 'nothing to do' with Russians living in Hampshire, pleads council leader

RUSSIANS living in Hampshire bear no responsibility for the ongoing war in Ukraine, a council leader has said.

Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 4:45 pm

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans, has called for unity and understanding among residents as the war in Ukraine continues.

According to a survey from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) there are roughly 1,000 Russians living in Hampshire, plus a further 540 Ukrainians.

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Hampshire County Council leader Cllr Keith Mans, middle, at a cabinet meeting in Winchester. Picture: David George

The council leader said the Russians cannot be held responsible for the Putin's actions, and has urged people not to make them the subjects of hatred or abuse – while also looking out for Ukrainian friends and neighbours.

Cllr Mans said: 'This war is one between Vladimir Putin and Ukraine, it has nothing to do with the ordinary Russians living here in Hampshire.

'As the world watches events unfold further in Ukraine, across Hampshire we all send our thoughts and prayers to the Ukrainian people, including those who are living in Hampshire.

'I am very conscious that people in the county have already been very supportive of the Ukrainians, and there are all sorts of ways we can help. I'm sure there will be plenty more opportunities to do so.'

Cllr Mans spent more than a decade in the RAF as a pilot, reaching the rank of Flight Lieutenant, and spent a further 28 years in the RAF reserves.

He added Vladimir Putin represents the very thing he and his colleagues fought against.

'None of us would have expected to have seen such hostilities in Europe in these modern times, and we condemn the attacks on Ukraine’s innocent citizens,' he said.

'Make no mistake, this is a battle between a totalitarian dictator in Putin, and a true democracy in Ukraine.

'The freedoms that we may take for granted - to speak freely, to demonstrate against regime's like Putin's – is very much at stake in both Ukraine and Russia.'

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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