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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley celebrates with Ukrainian family marking Independence Day

Ukrainian flag with North Antrim MP Ian Paisley pictured with Valentyn and Larysa Pavlenkov, along with their young family.

Inset: North Antrim MP Ian Paisley pictured with Valentyn and Larysa Pavlenkov, along with their young family.

Celebrating the 31st anniversary of independence from the former Soviet Union, local MP Ian Paisley has joined with a Ukrainian family who has found refuge in County Antrim in recent months.

Today, Thursday 24 August, marks 31 years since Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union. Commemorating the birth of a modern, sovereign Ukraine takes on special meaning for the nation at this time, as it's people continue to fight to retain that independence in the face of the Russian aggression of recent years.

Valentyn and Larysa Pavlenkov, along with their children, (see video below) are one of many families who have found a safe home in Northern Ireland and across the United Kingdom in difficult and turbulent times.

Standing with these families and the Ukrainian nation, the North Antrim MP Ian Paisley said:

"Northern Ireland has been very generous in welcoming families fleeing from the 500-day war raging in Ukraine and we stand with those families in their hour of need.

"Those who have settled here are making a real contribution to Northern Ireland life.

"Today I met with Valentyn and Larysa Pavlenkov and their lovely family who are settled in North Antrim. They are all working and making a real contribution and they love Northern Ireland. We pray that, that war will end soon."

Mr Paisley continued:

"Today we wanted to pay respects to their country and culture and celebrate their nation's freedom from soviet power and stand with them as we support their country.

"In parliament I have supported actions to help with humanitarian and war aid. The UK government has made a £9.3 billion package available to Ukraine since February 2022. This is economic, and war aid, as well as humanitarian support.

"Our arms companies in the UK and our military experts are supporting Ukraine and much effort is required to bring this war to an end.

"As an MP I am campaigning for the UN and Turkey to urge Russia to re-join the Black Sea Grain Initiative, to stop bombing the grain and food infrastructure that is used to feed some of the most vulnerable in the world."


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