'Astonishing': Brits praised for raising £55m for Ukraine in just one day

5 March 2022, 00:29

Brits have raised £55m for Ukrainians
Brits have raised £55m for Ukrainians. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Brits have been praised for their “astonishing” support for Ukraine as they raised £55m in the first day of a new campaign to help Kyiv.

The Disasters Emergency Committee [DEC], a group made of 15 aid agencies, urged for momentum to build up after "hundreds of thousands" backed its appeal for desperate people whose lives have been destroyed by Vladimir Putin's war.

The Queen was among those to give what was described as a "generous" donation, and she was joined by Prince Charles and Prince William.

That £55m includes the £20m donated by the UK Government as part of its matched funding scheme.

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: "We are extremely grateful for the huge generosity of everyone in the UK who has donated to the DEC appeal.

"We are also very grateful for the generous support of the royal family.

"We also thank the UK Government, who have matched pound for pound the first £20 million donated by the public, as well as our broadcast partners and celebrities for having aired and joined the appeal, reaching millions of viewers and listeners."

Read more: 'By God's grace we avoided nuclear catastrophe' US warns over 'reckless' Russia attack

Read more: Fifteen year jail for protesting against the war: Putin's new crackdown against dissent

The appeal aims to raise money for charities that are helping people in Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland to get food, water and shelter.

At least 2,000 civilians are said to have been killed in the fighting while a million Ukrainians have become refugees.

The scale of the crisis was laid bare on Friday after Russia was accused of attacking a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.

It denied doing so but it has seized control of the Zaporizhzhia plant, the biggest in Europe, responsible for a quarter of Ukraine's power generation.

The US's representative to the UN said it was by the "grace of God" the world avoided a "nuclear catastrophe", while Russia said radiation levels at the site were normal and the plant was functioning as usual.

While any aid for civilians will be welcome, Ukraine again pressed for a military intervention from Nato – something the alliance has declined due to its belief it could trigger a large-scale war with Russia.

Warning that a new delivery of fuel would not pay off "litres of our blood, shed for our common Europe", Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: "All the people who die from this day forward will also die because of you, because of your weakness, because of your lack of unity.

"The alliance has given the green light to the bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages by refusing to create a no-fly zone."

On Friday, Boris Johnson hailed the president and the people of Ukraine.

"What's happening in your homeland is an abomination, and like people across the UK, I am heartsick at the destruction and loss of life," the Prime Minister said, adding that sanctions would be worsened on Russia if the invasion continues and that the "vice is tightening its grip".