As the County Press reported on Friday, Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has visited war-torn Ukraine.

Mr Seely visited Kyiv, Odesa and Mykolayiv during the UK parliament's recess.

The former soldier lived in the USSR and independent Ukraine between 1990 and 1995 and travelled widely throughout the USSR and post-USSR states.

Mr Seely has written on Russian military and strategic affairs, and completed his PhD in Russian warfare last year.

He told the County Press: “The war in Ukraine is the most dangerous immediate issue facing Europe, indeed potentially the world. 

“I felt that, as an MP who has prior knowledge of Ukraine, of Russia and of Russian military and strategic doctrine, it was important for me to visit in person to make sure I continued to speak from experience.

"I asked Ukrainian MPs if they would welcome a visit. They encouraged me, saying that they felt isolated as well as under attack.

“For these reasons, I travelled to Ukraine over Parliament’s recess.

"I was in Kyiv to meet with officials and to see the results of the Kremlin’s attempted invasion in villages north of Kyiv, such as Bucha and Irpen.

"I also travelled to the south of the country to Odesa and Mykolayiv.

Why Isle of Wight MP visited Ukraine

“I met with members of the public, regional governors, military generals, members of the Ukraine Parliament and Government ministers. I spent seven days in Ukraine in total.

“The overwhelming impression I gained was of a determined and stoical people who are fighting an ethically just war to defend themselves against an illegal and abhorrent invasion by a foreign dictator’s armies. Ukraine’s message is: this is our land, we have nowhere else to go and we have no choice but to defend ourselves.

“The work in recently liberated areas north of Kyiv was impressive to see. I talked with war crimes prosecutors already at work collecting evidence, and witnessed the moving exhumation of the bodies of murdered Ukrainians from mass graves north of Kyiv.

“On a positive note, I also saw clean-up work in liberated areas to return life to some kind of normality.

Isle of Wight County Press: The war in Ukraine. Picture AP Photos/Efrem LutatskyThe war in Ukraine. Picture AP Photos/Efrem Lutatsky

"In the south, I talked with regional governors and military generals about the continued threat from Russian armed forces.

“I spent last Thursday evening talking with the commander of Ukraine’s southern flank, who confirmed to me that Ukraine’s forces had sunk the Russian battleship, the Moskva (Moscow), showing me drone images of the vessel on fire.

“Although Russia is clearly the aggressor, it fills me with sadness and concern to see the levels of Russian casualties, which may have already passed 20,000 dead with many thousands more injured.

"These people, as well as Ukrainians, are also victims of the reckless evil of President Putin’s actions. 

"Including civilian and military casualties, it is possible that upwards of 35,000 people may have already perished in this war.

“However, regardless of who sent them to battle and why, Russian soldiers have a moral and legal obligation to follow the rules of war, and it is clear that some have not done so.

“For security reasons, I was out of contact for periods of time during my time in Ukraine. However, I was able to communicate with my office in relation to pressing constituency matters.

Return to House of Commons this week

"Having now returned from Ukraine, and with the House of Commons returning this week, I look forward to resuming my parliamentary and constituency duties directly.

"There are many ongoing priorities, as well as those which link back to the Ukraine issue – such as continuing to support constituents who may have concerns about relatives in the country, or are seeking to assist those arriving in the UK. I will endeavour to do all I can to assist.”

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