Ukrainian families joined the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street as he turned on the street’s Christmas tree lights this week.

The Prime Minister welcomed Ukrainians to the event, including families from conflict zones in the east and south of Ukraine, who are now being hosted across Greater London through the Homes for Ukraine and Ukraine family schemes.

He was also joined by Points of Light award winners who have been commended for their charitable work, Catterick Garrison soldiers from the Prime Minister’s constituency in Richmond, Yorkshire and the winners of this year’s the Champion Christmas Tree Grower of the Year Awards who provided Downing Street’s Christmas Tree.

During the event attendees enjoyed a rendition of Silent Night outside Number 10 sung by the Millbank Academy Year 3 student choir and music from the Ensemble of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.

Guests were then invited to a reception inside Number 10 to enjoy a hot chocolate, together with mince pies and gingerbread.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty listen to year 3 student choir from Millbank Academy as they turn on the Downing Street Christmas lights. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

At its heart, the Christmas story is one of compassion and hospitality. I’m delighted to welcome our friends from Ukraine, who have chosen to make the UK their home during Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, to join in our Christmas tradition of lighting the Downing Street tree this year.

Sentiments of hope are never stronger than during the festive season and no one has displayed this more this year than the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom. We continue to stand wholeheartedly behind Ukraine in this fight.

While Christmas is a time of celebration, I know it can be a difficult time, especially if you are away from your loved ones. Wherever you are this Christmas, I wish you joy and peace, and a very happy New Year.

The UK has been a leader in humanitarian support for Ukraine, including by supplying generators, fuel trucks and ambulances.  We recently announced a further £10 million for NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package to provide winter clothes and shelters for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to keep them warm this Christmas.

Kateryna Balabanova, PhD, a Ukrainian displaced person living in the UK, said:

My family and I are deeply grateful to the British people on behalf of all the Ukrainians. The help provided by the UK Government and the nation as a whole is an unprecedented sign of brotherhood. Now my children can plan to develop a bright future, and we all can be safe before we are able to go home. This Christmas, we hope Ukraine wins this war soon, liberating itself from the invaders, and that Russia’s barbarity will become history.

The 19ft tree was provided by Bishops Offley Christmas Trees from Staffordshire, who are the winners of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association’s (BCTGA) annual Champion Christmas Tree Grower of the Year Awards. For over 20 years, BCTGA has provided the tree to stand outside Downing Street.


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