CREEKMOOR councillor Diana Butler has been condemned by colleagues after claiming the Russian attack on Ukraine might have been provoked by the actions of the Ukraine Government.
Her comments were roundly criticised at the BCP meeting on Tuesday evening with fellow Creekmoor councillor Judy Butt quick to disassociate herself and ‘the good people of Creekmoor’ from the remarks.
Uk Independence Party councillor Diana Butler said she was unsure about the phrase “unprovoked attack” being used in a motion of support for Ukraine from Christchurch councillor Lesley Dedman.
She told stunned councillors that the decision by Ukraine not to recognise Russian as an official language in two areas to the east of the country had provoked Russia – with at least 40% in the area having Russian as their main language.
“Unprovoked aggression is not right. Russia was provoked” she said, going on to explain how in 2014 the law which protected Russian as an official state language was revoked.
Cllr Bob Lawton said he found it ‘incomprehensible’ that a councillor had made the remarks: “I cannot believe the inhumanity which is being suffered by the Ukraine people under the aggression of Russian imperialists.
“It is just unbelievable what they are trying to do to. They are treating women, children, the elderly as if they were inhuman…I find it incomprehensible that a councillor in this room tries to justify what is happening.”
Cllr Butt said the comments from her fellow ward councillor were ill-advised.
“Sometimes we have thoughts and opinions which are best kept to ourselves – and you should have done that,” she said glancing across the chamber to Cllr Butler.
During the debate there was criticism of the council for taking down the Ukraine flag from the Bournemouth council headquarters and replacing it, for the meeting night, with the BCP flag. Councillors were told that it would be flying againon Wednesday and would continue to fly until there was a resolution to the war.
Cabinet portfolio holder Cllr Karen Rampton said there were now 125 adults and 55 children in the area under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and 1,444 households in the area had now offered to host refugees.
She said the council and its partners are holding weekly meetings to plan help for arrivals – with problems remaining over finding suitable school places for some of the refugee children, especially in areas where schools already have a waiting list.
Education brief holder Nichola Greene said the council was working, with the schools, on solutions but said that it also had to be fair to local families who were wanting places.