27th Jun, 2022

Coventry's Ukrainian community 'overwhelmed' by support shown across the city

Tristan Harris 2nd Mar, 2022 Updated: 2nd Mar, 2022

THE UKRANIAN community of Coventry says it has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support it has received from people and organisations across the City of Peace and Reconciliation.

A number of steps have been taken across the city and in the wider West Midlands to help the country since the invasion of Ukraine last week.

From 8.30pm tonight, a candlelit vigil for the people of Ukraine is due to take place at Coventry Cathedral after the venue’s Ash Wednesday service.

Last week, the Russian Federation flag was removed from the Coventry City Council House after a request from the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) and a meeting between councillors, the Lord Mayor of Coventry and members of the group’s local branch.

Dr Mario Kosmirak, Chair of AUGB Coventry Branch, told the Observer: “The community has been really upset about the situation in Ukraine but immensely proud of the Ukrainian Army and the resistance to Russian forces.

“We have had messages of support from people on our Facebook page, people have been putting ‘Stop the war’ posters in their windows and I saw one house which even had its curtains painted blue and yellow like the Ukrainian flag.

“We are so grateful to the support from the people of Coventry, the city council and the UK Government – all parties in the House of Commons.”

He added they had received messages of support from the Coventry Polish community and citizens had donated to the national fund-raising campaign to buy vital supplies to to help people caught up in the conflict which had now reached £1million.

“We were also very grateful to MP Taiwo Owatemi who visited us at our community hall to speak to our members.

“She was able to offer advice on aspects, such as visa issues, and if there were things she did not know the answers to, she said she would take those questions back to Parliament and find out for us.”

Coventry City FC and the club’s fans showed their support during Saturday’s match with Preston North End and Coventry United Ladies FC have changed their badge on social media from red to blue and yellow.

The University of Warwick announced it would be reviewing all its links to Russian State institutions with a view to terminating contracts where possible.

Vice Chancellor and President, Prof Stuart Croft, said: “I have had a meeting with the Leader of Coventry City Council, Coun George Duggins, to discuss how we as a university might work with the city to support our Ukrainian and Russian heritage and nationals both at the university and in the city.”

Prof Croft has also written to the Russian Ambassador to the UK, protesting the invasion and declaring that Warwick stood with the people of Ukraine, as well as with Russians who spoke out against war.

And Warwick has worked with its partners and allies throughout Europe, signed shared statements condemning Russia’s actions and urged political leaders to enable universities to support Ukrainian students and staff on our campuses.

Jaguar Land Rover has also paused delivery of vehicles into Russia as the Ukraine crisis escalated.

Click here for more on the JLR stance and here for the city council’s move to take down the Russian Federation flag, along with a brief history of how Coventry’s Ukrainian community came to be.

Click here for more on tonight’s candlelit vigil at Coventry Cathedral.

  • Are you holding collections / donations for Ukraine? Email us the details to editor@coventryobserver.co.uk and let us help you publicise it and get the message out.

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