KATE, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE, and Prince William have spoken of feeling “useless” as the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its second week. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London, learning more about how the UK is stepping up to help the waves of Ukrainian citizens fleeing the country following the Russian invasion. The royal couple met with Ukrainian volunteers, with Kate radiant in an Alexander McQueen jumper that nodded to the blue of the Ukrainian flag.
Both William and Kate, 40, also pinned emblems of the Ukrainian flag to their outfits. The pins sported the flag with a small white heart in the centre in a further token of support. Speaking at the centre, Prince William, 39, said the British people would be jarred to see conflict erupting closer to the UK than is often familiar. He said: “It’s very alien to see this in Europe. We are all behind you.”
He added that he hoped to do more to help, saying: “We feel so useless.” The pair toured the centre, hearing about the donations the facility has received since the start of the Russian invasion a fortnight ago, and how the centre supports those in the local area. They also helped with sorting and wrapping up items donated by the public to the centre.
They toured the centre with the Ukrainian ambassador Vadym Prystaiko and his wife Inna, as well Inna Hryhorovych, who spearheaded the relief operation.William said: “The irony is it brings Europe closer together. “Europe is closer together than it’s ever been before because of Ukraine.” He added that “we have seen a lot of that Ukrainian spirit already”, urging the volunteers to “keep together. Everyone is there for you.”
During the visit, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke with the CEO of the Disasters Emergency Committee, Saleh Saeed.
They discussed the Committee’s Ukraine humanitarian Appeal, which has now raised a staggering £120 million for those working in Ukraine. Reports also suggest the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made private donations to the DEC to help those in Ukraine. The DEC tweeted earlier this month: “Many thanks to Her Majesty The Queen for continuing to support the Disasters Emergency Committee and for making a generous donation to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.”
The Duke and Duchess have previously publicised their support for the sovereignty of Ukraine and for the country’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky.They tweeted as the Russian invasion began at the end of February that they fully backed the Ukrainian president and those fighting for their country against Vladimir Putin. They posted: “In October 2020 we had the privilege to meet President Zelenskyy and the First Lady to learn of their hope and optimism for Ukraine’s future.
“Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine’s people as they bravely fight for that future.” They signed off the message from their Kensington Palace Twitter page with their initials and the Ukrainian flag.Mr Zelensky then thanked the couple for their support, adding he was “grateful” for the words which their initials indicate came directly from the Duke and Duchess.
Mr Zelensky tweeted: “Olena and I are grateful to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge @RoyalFamily that at this crucial time, when Ukraine is courageously opposing Russia’s invasion, they stand by our country and support our brave citizens. “Good will triumph.” Mr Zelensky met the Duke and Duchess in 2020, alongside his wife, Olena.They arrived in London for an audience with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The two couples met in the throne room of the Palace, during the Zelenskys two-day trip to the UK.