02 March 2022

MPs give standing ovation to Ukraine ambassador at Prime Minister’s Questions

02 March 2022

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK was given a standing ovation and cheered loudly by MPs as he watched Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

Vadym Prystaiko sat in a side gallery in the chamber and received applause for almost a minute after Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle announced he was in attendance.

Sir Lindsay said: “Your excellency, we generally do not allow applause in this chamber, but on this occasion the House quite rightly will want to demonstrate our respect and support for your country and its people in the most difficult of times.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened PMQs by condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

He said: “Putin has gravely miscalculated. In his abhorrent assault on a sovereign nation, he has under-estimated the extraordinary fortitude of the Ukrainian people and the unity and resolve of the free world in standing up to his barbarism.

“The UN General Assembly will vote later today, and we call on every nation to join us in condemning Russia and demanding that Putin turns his tanks around.

Vadym Prystaiko in the public gallery as he was given a standing ovation by MP (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor) (PA Media)

“If instead Putin doubles down then so shall we, further ratcheting up economic pressure and supporting Ukraine with finance, with weapons and with humanitarian assistance.

“Today the Disasters Emergency Committee is launching its Ukraine appeal and every pound donated by the British people will be matched by the Government, starting with £20 million.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer welcomed the ambassador, adding: “This House and this country stands united in our support for the Ukrainian people in the face of Russia aggression.”

Conservative MP Alexander Stafford (Rother Valley) said his Ukrainian grandfather was “deported by the Soviets to the gulags of Siberia”, adding: “I’m proud of my Ukrainian heritage, never more so than over the past week where this plucky nation – the nation of my family – has stood up to the jackboot of Putin’s army.”

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