A national minute of silence is to be held on Friday (February 24) to mark a year since Russia first invaded Ukraine. This national moment of reflection will offer people in the UK a chance to pay tribute to the courage of the Ukrainian people and demonstrate the UK’s solidarity with the country.
The government is encouraging individuals and organisations across the UK to participate, while Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to lead the nation in silence from Downing Street at 11am. Since the war began, thousands of Ukrainians have been killed defending their freedom from Russia’s appalling onslaught.
Millions more have been forced from their homes, with 114,400 Ukrainians finding refuge in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “As we approach the anniversary of Russia’s barbaric and deplorable invasion of Ukraine, as a nation we pay tribute to the incredible bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people.
“Russia’s unjustifiable attack brought war and destruction to our continent once again, and it has forced millions from their homes and devastated families across Ukraine and Russia.
“I am incredibly proud of the UK’s response, and throughout this past year, the UK public have shown their true generosity of spirit and their enduring belief in freedom.”
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “One year on from Putin’s illegal invasion, we stand in solidarity with our friends in Ukraine and remember all those who have lost their lives in the pursuit of freedom.This moment of silence is a time to reflect on the human cost of this conflict and show we stand with Ukraine.”
The national minute of silence comes following the historic visit of President Zelenksyy to the UK last week. During the visit, the Prime Minister underlined the UK’s steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine for the long term, ensuring it can secure a lasting peace.