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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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As we mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, strong British international leadership is needed now more than ever

Ukranian MP Kira Rudik addresses the Global Britain Summit via satellite

Ryan Baldry, Senior Communications Manager & Alice Palmer, Communications and Events Assistant | Coalition for Global Prosperity

3 min read Partner content

The UK still plays a crucial role in defending democracy and preserving Europe's security. Amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the global economic aftershocks caused by Russia's hostile aggression, delegates gathered at the Global Britain Summit to discuss these challenges.

One year ago today, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine shocked the world and irreversibly changed the course of European history. Overnight, ‘normal’ life in Ukraine became synonymous with air raid sirens, the sound of missile strikes, and family homes lying in ruin. A European neighbour’s peace and security, shattered entirely over the course of just one year.

In the face of this destruction and Russia’s hostile aggression, Britain’s role in standing up for democracy and preserving Europe’s security is vital.

Earlier this month, the Coalition for Global Prosperity hosted the Global Britain Summit, a full-day conference exploring Britain’s role on the world stage and the importance of strong international leadership and development funding.

With the world also reeling from the global economic aftershocks of Putin’s actions, compounding the suffering of communities around the world already facing hunger, economic hardship and the calamitous impact of climate change, strong UK global leadership is needed now more than ever.

As summarised by one of the Summit’s keynote speakers, Kurt Volker, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and Special Representative to Ukraine, “The values that are at stake are our values, and if we’re not defending them where they are being challenged today, we’ll end up defending them later, closer to home, and at a higher cost.”

Kurt Volker, former US Ambassador to NATO addresses the summit
Kurt Volker, former US Ambassador to NATO addresses the summit

What was abundantly clear from the Summit’s eye-opening keynote speeches and panel discussions, covering topics from the war in Ukraine to women and girls’ special ability to accelerate global development, was the immense value of an outward-facing Britain, one that actively defends and upholds democracy and human rights on the world stage.

Coinciding with President Zelensky’s historic visit to the UK, Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik underscored the import of this type of Britain in a powerful virtual address from Kyiv. Personally thanking the British people, who have supported Ukraine “since day one”, she delivered her final message with striking clarity: “Unity wins over everything.”

Britain cannot underestimate its role in shaping the extent of global progress in the coming decades, including the 2030 Agenda. Democracy, gender equality, economic prosperity – these are the values that embody Global Britain. In order to extend these basic human rights and ensure they are a reality everywhere, we must continue to lead by example and act as a force for good in the world. Far beyond our borders, people are counting on us for a better, fairer and safer future.

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