We have all been shocked and sickened by President Putin's unprovoked and increasingly deadly invasion of Ukraine over the past few days
When the Soviet Union fell, over thirty years ago, over 90% of the people of Ukraine voted for independence. It has a democratically elected President and Parliament. It has not threatened anyone.
Now it has been invaded, with no justification, by an authoritarian leader who thinks that he is above international law.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ukrainian people, who feel their very existence is under mortal threat from a Putin-led Russia, seemingly bent on recovering the lost empire of the USSR.
On many issues we as Liberal Democrats as well as other opposition parties, are supportive of what the Government is doing in terms of diplomacy and supplies and assistance to the Ukrainian people, who are led by an ex-TV comedian who has become an inspiring national leader worthy of international respect.
However, we are so ashamed of the way our Government is dealing with the urgent issue of Ukrainian refugees. Over the weekend, the Under-Secretary of State for Safe and Legal Migration, Kevin Foster, tweeted there was no problem because refugees could apply for temporary visas to pick cauliflowers. Our Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said we would welcome close family by which she meant spouses and children only, no one else. Or they could apply for asylum, provided of course they had all the correct papers, having escaped bombing and they could reach a UK embassy or consulate. How absurd in the present situation.
Compare the initial UK attitude, now somewhat improved, to that shown by all 27 members of the EU, who collectively, and that includes Hungary and Poland, erstwhile hard-line anti-immigrant governments, have already said all refugees from Ukraine can stay for three years without having to apply for asylum.
It was also interesting to hear our Defence Minister, Ben Wallace, on Monday's Today programme, when asked about the refugee problem, said 'First of all we need to see the details of the EU Policy...'
So much for the Leave's campaign of 'taking back control of our borders': we now have to wait and see what the EU does before we can act ourselves!