Ukraine - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:00 pm on 21 December 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green 3:00, 21 December 2022

My Lords, this will be the last Green group contribution in the House this year, barring any last-minute recalls—I fear I may be tempting fate—so I hope that the House will forgive me for taking one second to thank, as many others have, all of the staff, who, mostly invisibly to the outside world, keep us operating here through the unsociable and highly unpredictable hours to which we cling. I offer profound thanks to all of the staff.

I am very glad that we are taking this Ukraine Statement, but it is a grave pity that yesterday’s biodiversity COP 15 Oral Statement in the other place has not been picked up today. I hope that someone can confirm that we will at least be doing that belatedly in the new year.

On the Ukraine Statement, my question follows on from that of the noble Baronesses opposite. The Statement focuses on Russian attacks on military targets in Ukraine in this illegal war but, of course, at the moment a lot of the Russian military activity focuses on attacks on civilian infrastructure, particularly energy infrastructure. One of the things that I found from my visit last month to Kyiv and surrounding areas, particularly Irpin and Bucha, was that the Ukrainians are working very hard to restore things and keep things going, even under this continuing attack on civilian infrastructure. One of the things that they have found relates to renewable infrastructure. I heard about solar panels on hospitals and medical facilities, which mean that they can continue to keep functioning even when the rest of the system goes down. Can the noble Baroness reassure me on what the Government are doing? She talked about our attention span not being short. Are we focusing on helping the Ukrainians to support that essential civilian infrastructure? Are we particularly looking at rebuilding, now and into the future, using resilient renewable infrastructure that can be there for the long term for the Ukrainians?