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Ukraine Act 2022

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Mr. Speaker,

I would like to move for the following act to be moved to second reading in support of our friends in Ukraine.

Ukraine Act 2022 
Part One: Sanctions against Russia 
This Act: 
1. Suspends the convertibility of Rubles into Pounds and vice versa; 
2. Prohibits investment by UK firms and individuals in Russian firms; 
3. Prohibits the payment of debt by Russian firms and the Russian state in currency under British jurisdiction; 
4. Freezes all Russian state and business assets in the UK 
5. Effectively imposes capital controls in respect of any money transferring to the Russian Federation 
6. Suspends all visa applications by Russian individuals 
7. Closes British airspace to Russian-registered aircraft 

Part Two: Aid for Ukraine 
This Act: 
1. Applies an exemption to the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 in respect of those joining the International Legion of Territorial Defence of Ukraine 
2. Authorises the transfer of £1 billion in direct financial aid to Ukraine, and commits to a further £2 billion in “reconstruction aid” following the cessation of hostilities 
3. Places a responsibility upon the Ministry of Defence to offer non-nuclear equipment being decommissioned (except for reasons of malfunction) to the defence forces of Ukraine at the discretion of the Minister of Defense 
4. Establishes the British Ukrainian Refugee Expansion of Rights 
Part Three: The British Ukrainian Refugee Expansion of Rights
This Act: 
1. Suspends certain parts of asylum law to give Ukrainian refugees enhanced rights, particularly the right to work 
2. Establishes a right to apply for indefinite leave to remain for Ukrainian refugees after two years (or at the cessation of hostilities)

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Mr. Speaker,

I am proud to introduce this act to the house which in the first part creates the strongest sanctions proposed by a global economic power against the organized crime machine that composes the current Russian regime. The actions of the Russian regime in Ukraine amount to violations of international law that will not be tolerated by this Government. We are establishing a national effort to deter the aggression of the Russian war machine and cut off the fiscal fuel that feeds the same. While we stand with the Russian people, it is my hope they will also stand against the criminal Mafia running their government, and it is also my hope we see this invasion of a sovereign European country utterly and completely defeated as a lesson to dictators for the rest of history.

In the following parts of this act we give relief and mercy to our friends in Ukraine and our Ukrainian friends coming to the United Kingdom. The situation of migration is hard as times are hard all throughout Europe. This government believes it is in challenging times like this we must rise to the oblige we have as global leaders, leaders of Europe, and to the very fabric of Europe by being merciful to our Ukrainian friends. Our Ukrainian friends stand on the front lines for the same global order and peace on Europe we are obliged to preserve as leaders of the same.

Altogether this act, prepared at the urging of the Right Honourable Lady the Home Secretary, provides a framework for utterly defeating our enemies and vehemently supporting our friends. 

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Mr Speaker,

I am sure I speak for the whole House when I wish the brave men and women of Ukraine well, and commend their resolve and strength during this unprecedented period.

I am grateful to the government for bringing forward this legislation. All of us in this country commend Ukraine against the aggression of Russia, and we must continue to express our support with legal measures such as these.

I am disappointed, however, that the government has opted to go it alone with the preparation of this Act. Areas do not go far enough - crucially there is no mention of sanctions against oligarchs already living in this country; and more questions emerge than are answered - particularly concerning the financing of aid, and the lack of detail about where the money will go, and how it will be used. It is vital that we seek to share a united front against Russia, and so I ask if the government will ensure that British support for Ukraine is unanimous in future, by committing to work with those of us on the Opposition benches with regards to legislation of this type?

It is important at this stage to commend the government for the commitment to providing Ukrainian refugees greater flexibility to live and work in this country, but it is unclear whether or not this legislation will increase the number of refugees that Britain will take in. It is equally unclear what funding will be made available to those that do come to this country. As with the China debacle, one gets the sense that this Act is composed of ideas that lack substance and forward planning. Over the last few weeks, significant concerns have emerged over the government’s capabilities to deliver on what it says it will do.

In this vein, it seems apt to to briefly turn the attention of the House to the Prime Minister. Whilst he has often been willing to criticise Russia on Twitter, we have not yet heard that he has taken any actions to aid the cause himself. Before assuming the leadership of his party, the Prime Minister wrote that, “on day one of my Premiership, I intend to speak to all of our NATO allies on what must be done to recommit our efforts to end the Russian invasion of Ukraine.” Can the Secretary or State confirm that such phone calls did take place on that first day, and inform the House what measures were discussed in support of Ukraine?

The Prime Minister was also preparing to visit Ukraine to show his personal support, before his China ‘strategy’ derailed the plan. Are the government able to provide an updated timetable for when that visit will now take place, and what the Prime Minister intends to do whilst he is there?

Mr Speaker, whilst we on the Opposition benches will support this legislation, it is not a blank cheque for the government to act unilaterally over Ukraine. We want to see greater cooperation with the whole House, in future.

I look forward to the government rapidly providing answers to the important questions that we have raised today.

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