A council is flying the flag of Ukraine as a show of solidarity to mark the country’s Independence Day.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council has raised Ukraine’s national flag at the Town Hall in Maidenhead to mark 32 years since the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.

Council leader Simon Werner paid tribute to the Ukrainians whose lives have been upended by Russia’s invasion of the country.

He said: “On behalf of the council, on Ukrainian Independence Day, I would like to reaffirm our solidarity with the democratic state of Ukraine and our deepest sympathies for the millions of people whose lives continue to be so cruelly affected by this terrible conflict.

“No one can fail to be shocked and appalled by the images coming out of Ukraine, of families and communities tragically pulled apart by war, lives and livelihoods brutally disrupted, and horrific scenes of destruction.”

Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and continue to occupy swathes of the country’s sovereign territory in its eastern and southern regions.

Millions of Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes in the aftermath of the invasion, with more than 150,000 coming to the UK under special visa schemes.

Since the invasion, numerous reports of war crimes perpetrated by Russian forces have emerged, including attacks on civilians.

In March 2023, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over forced deportation of children from Ukraine.

Councillor Werner added: “In our own borough, the way our communities responded so swiftly and compassionately to the humanitarian situation is a great source of pride, with people welcoming Ukrainian families into their homes and supporting the critical relief efforts in other ways.

“Ukraine continues to be a global crisis with an ongoing and desperate humanitarian need.”

He urged residents and businesses to donate to British Red Cross emergency appeal or the Disasters Emergency Committee humanitarian appeal.

The blue and yellow bands on the flag of Ukraine are widely believed to represent a landscape of a blue sky over fields of wheat.

Ukrainians celebrate their Day of the National Flag on August 23, one day before Independence Day.