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Chief Minister's statement on Ukraine

Tuesday, 1 March 2022


House of Keys – 1 March 2022


Mr Speaker

I am certain that all Honourable Members of the House will join me today in condemning the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin and deploring the ongoing military invasion of Ukraine.

I want to make it clear that we stand unreservedly in support today of our friends in the Ukraine.  Their courage and resolve in the face of the advancing Russian forces has been remarkable. 

  We also stand Full Square with the actions that are being determined by world leaders to bring sanctions against Russia and we will play a fast and speedy role in ensuring that sanctions are enforced whenever they are requested.

As I am sure you would expect, we are working closely with the UK Government on this matter and we will continue to do so.

As it currently stands, the UK is responsible for the Island’s international relations and the Isle of Man Government’s policy is to keep the implementation of international sanctions measures in the Island in line with such measures that have effect in the United Kingdom.

As the financial sanctions measures that have been introduced following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine currently stand, when a person or body is added to the UK list that person or body is automatically subject to equivalent measures in the Island.

Similarly, if the UK imposes a travel ban on a person, that person is also subject to a travel ban under the law of the Island.

If, or when, the UK widens its sanctions measures – for example, in respect of trade with Russia – we will work to ensure that the Island has the same measures in place as quickly as possible.

Officials are currently working to understand the Island’s links to Russian persons and entities, and to understand the impact on the Island of possible further UK sanctions measures.

This includes – but is not limited to - our aircraft, shipping and general registries. We will work to ensure that we are not a weak link in international pressure on the Putin regime.

We have a solid international reputation for work in this area. Our colleagues in the Financial Services Authority and the Financial Intelligence Unit have good links with their opposite numbers in the UK and beyond. We will bring these relationships to bear as needed.

The UK has announced that it will be bringing forward new legislation to target those who use the City of London for illicit financial gain. Our links to the UK authorities on financial crime are strong and we will continue to play our part.

For as long as the conflict continues, we will need to remain vigilant. We need to ensure that we are basing decisions and judgements on reliable information sources.  This is a conflict that is also being waged in the social media space through disinformation and misinformation.

It is also being waged in the cyber space. During times of increased tension between Russia and neighbouring countries, there is an historical pattern of increased malicious or hostile cyber activity.  While we are not aware of any current specific threats to our Island it is important that all maintain a high level of awareness and do what we can to bolster online defences.

Finally, in respect of the direct global actions I want to confirm today that Isle of Man Airspace and Isle of Man Ports are closed to all Russian Aircraft and Ships until further notice.

In relation to visas for people coming from Ukraine applications made by persons wishing to come to the Isle of Man are made through UK Visas and Immigration. Honourable Members will have seen that the UK has announced that Visa rules will be relaxed to allow people to bring over Ukrainian immediate family members as the first step in a Government package to help those fleeing Russia’s invasion. I can confirm that we will mirror that approach.

In that respect the Government has set up a dedicated email address for those who need urgent support and guidance and this can be accessed at - which will be manned by our Immigration Officers initially during normal office hours.

The UK government has indicated this pathway is the first step in a wider range of measures to support those fleeing conflict. We will monitor the situation closely and if there are opportunities for our Island to link into and offer additional support, we will do so.

In the meantime, the Council of Ministers has agreed that it is right for us to make a financial contribution to those who are working to care for those who are fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. We have allocated an initial £500,000 and are in discussion with the Disasters Emergency Committee – with whom we have a long-standing relationship. We expect them to launch a live appeal in the coming days. If they do so, we will channel our funds through them. Otherwise we will look to the UN agencies who are stepping up their work in the region.

Mr Speaker

This is a conflict that is close to home. This is a war in Europe and it presents grave danger.  We urge dialogue and a cessation of hostilities but whilst conflict continues we stand with the international community and, however modest our actions we will continue to play our part in international efforts to bringing about peace and support those affected by the conflict.

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