BARNSLEY'S political party leaders have released a statement expressing their sympathies for Ukraine and the town's twin town Horlivka, following Russia's invasion.

The statement is from the leader of Barnsley Council, Sir Steve Houghton, the leader of Barnsley Liberal Democrats, Coun Hannah Kitching, and the leader of the Barnsley Conservatives, Coun John Wilson.

They said: “We’re deeply saddened by what’s happening in Ukraine. Our sympathy goes out to the people of Ukraine, and our thoughts are with the community representatives in Horlivka with whom we have developed twinning links.

“It’s the innocent men, women and children who are not involved in armed forces or armed conflict, who will be the biggest victims of everything that is happening.

“So we send all our thoughts and hope to the people of Ukraine, that they come through this incredibly difficult time.

“We trust the Western allies can find ways and means of freeing the people of Ukraine from this oppression and that our friends and colleagues in Horlivka can once again enjoy the freedom that they deserve, away from tyranny and terror.

“It is an incredibly difficult time, and anything that we think is difficult in this country pales into insignificance when you see what the people of Ukraine are now having to endure.

“Barnsley has been twinned with Horlivka, a large mining town in eastern Ukraine, since 1987.

"Barnsley's friendship with Horlivka, in the Donetsk city region, goes back to May 1956, when a delegation of miners from Yorkshire stayed in the town during a study tour of the Soviet Union.

"We lit up our Town Hall in the colours of Ukraine to show the people of Ukraine we can be a light in their darkness.

“People of Ukraine need as much help as they can get and you can show your support by donating to UNICEF at or any other charity carrying out humanitarian efforts.”