WEEKLY column by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie 

The two-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is being noted around the world.

The war – now worryingly a war of attrition as much as a fight for freedom – continues with lives lost and towns and cities flattened. The Ukrainian people are exhausted but fighting on.

When the conflict began, the people of Stroud opened their arms to those fleeing the war and this has continued.

I worked with my team and ministers to make sure all who wanted to come to our part of the world were able to do so.

Many thanks for those who helped and especially the host families and county council for extending the scheme.

The UK has been steadfast in its support of Ukraine. Arms, aid and training all continue to be willingly given as the country battles aggression.

But now with conflict in Israel and Gaza, I fear the focus has shifted and the war on our own continent gets fewer column inches.

And I am not alone. A man came to see me at my surgery on Friday worried it had dropped off the radar. He voiced many concerns that a war in Europe much closer to home and that the media is focused on the Middle East. 

NATO remains our bulwark against Russia and Sweden joined its ranks this month in a boost to European security. But I know the government and our NATO allies, especially those close to Russia remain concerned about a widening of this conflict.  That is why the west must continue to support Ukraine. Putin cannot win.

Closer to home the anniversary of the invasion was marked at the Ukrainian Church in Gloucester.

It was organised by the brilliant Laura Bullivant, who helps to run Aid for Ukraine Gloucestershire. 

Permission was granted to attach 2,000 luggage labels to the railings at the church to create a large Ukrainian Flag made up of messages from people across Gloucestershire. It was a lovely gesture and many of the messages were heartfelt.

My message in part read: “I am inspired by the fortitude and determination of our Ukrainian friends, who have sought refuge in the Stroud district and settled in our local communities. 

“My thoughts are with the people of Ukraine today and always.”