Team Devon authorities, including Devon County and District Councils and the Devon Association of Local Councils, have pledged to work together to support Ukrainian refugees seeking sanctuary in the UK, and have each condemned Russia's actions.
They have agreed to give particular support to families in Devon whose relatives in Ukraine are fleeing the conflict.
Individually, councils have also taken steps to cut Russian links, such as through contracts for energy provision. And any few remaining investments within the Devon Pension Fund, linked to Russian assets, are being sold off quickly.
Devon councils have long worked together, alongside health and voluntary sector partners and local communities, to provide safe sanctuary and resettlement for refugees, most recently Syrian families and those fleeing conflict in Afghanistan.
The government has outlined support for up to 200,000 Ukrainian refugees under 'temporary visa concessions'. And further visas are being granted to those currently within the UK, including specific groups of workers, students and other visitors.
Already Devon District Councils are receiving offers of accommodation from Devon residents, for Ukrainian families.
East Devon District Council Chair Councillor Ian Thomas said:
On behalf of East Devon District Council, I want to express horror at the unprovoked invasion and heinous treatment of the sovereign nation of Ukraine and its people by Russia.
These are uniquely challenging circumstances. Whilst movement of displaced refugees from the war zone is at an early stage, it is clear that an enormous level of support is needed.
I’m confident that East Devon Officers and Members will step up to the plate in response to this humanitarian crisis, taking an active role with our local government partners in support of wider refugee needs.
In the interim, we have joined with many across the globe in a statement of solidarity and support for Ukraine, by flying the nations flag at both Blackdown House in Honiton and Exmouth Town Hall.
It is unbelievable and heart-breaking to see this tragedy unfolding before us. We can only hope that sanity, humanity and kindness will soon be restored."
East Devon District Council Leader Councillor Paul Arnott added:
The constructive and practical engagement of all the Devon districts, working under the Team Devon flag with the County, is absolutely essential. The challenges this crisis will inevitably provide need direct political solutions both nationally and locally, and East Devon, as part of Team Devon, will make sure that our response meets the expectations of our many concerned residents."