Friday marks one year since Russia launched its all out assault on Ukraine. Notwithstanding the huge military might and sheer brutality of the aggressors the Ukraine has withstood Putin’s increasingly desperate attempts to occupy a sovereign, independent neighbouring state: a state which he had repeatedly assured the world had nothing to fear.
The year before I had seen the determination of Ukraine in their celebrations of 30 years of independence from the Soviet Union so when confirmation of the invasion came in the early hours last year I had no doubt that Ukraine would defend itself with huge gallantry. However we also knew that they would need support. Ukraine's friends could not turn their backs in the hour of their greatest peril. To do so would be morally wrong and in the context of Putin's potential further ambitions extremely dangerous for the long term.
The decisions the U.K. took a year ago showed leadership which is now widely recognised for what it was – a vital response to a brutal, illegal act.
When President Zelenskyy delivered his moving address in Parliament his words were apposite and sincere: throughout the war we have stood by Ukraine and helped galvanise the international response including through training and equipment.
Thousands of generous people, including many locally, have opened their homes to Ukrainian families with over 210,000 visas issued in total.
The UK has provided humanitarian support totalling £220 million to those still living in Ukraine and those who fled to neighbouring countries.
Russia's losses in Ukraine have been immense. Strategically Russia has united the West and forced Finland and Sweden to join NATO to protect their independence. Russia isolated herself on the world stage and is increasing dependent on China.
However for the people of Ukraine there is no obvious quick end to the ongoing horror of war. There is simply the stark reality that they cannot allow Putin to succeed, Ukraine needs to to continue to be supported in their gallant defence of sovereignty, democracy and a world order in which "might" cannot be allowed to prevail. One year on we can be in no doubt that Ukraine has the determination to fight and that the international community is resolute in supporting the struggle.