The leader of Harrogate Borough Council has cancelled a Russian State Ballet and Opera performance in the town following the invasion of Ukraine.
Conservative councillor Richard Cooper announced at a cabinet meeting that the event due to be held at the council-owned Harrogate Convention Centre in October will not go ahead as a result of the “terrible” war.
He said: “Although the company is registered and addressed in England, until we can verify that the ownership is not Russian, that ban remains in place.”
It comes after performers from Russian State Opera appeared at the Royal Hall in Harrogate last week just before Russia invaded Ukraine and the onset of arts boycotts and economic sanctions that followed.
Several theatres across the UK have banned similar Russian performances, including at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, the Royal and Derngate Theatre in Northampton, and The New Theatre Peterborough.
At tonight’s cabinet meeting, Cllr Cooper described the war in Ukraine as “terrible” and said the Harrogate district stood ready to welcome refugees fleeing the country.
He said he was contacted by Harrogate MP Andrew Jones and asked to look at what housing could be offered if the district is called upon to do its part.
Councillor Cooper said: “Mr Jones has written to the Prime Minister and held discussions with him about increasing the United Kingdom’s offer to Ukrainian refugees.
“He has asked that we look at our housing stock and those of housing associations with whom we partner to ensure we are able to play our part in accommodating Ukrainian refugees if and when we are asked to do so.
“As we did with Syrian and Afghan refugees, we stand ready to do whatever is asked of us – and more – to welcome Ukrainians fleeing this terrible war.”
Councillor Cooper also sought to offer reassurances that the council does not have any direct involvement or investments with any Russian companies.
He added: “I can reassure members that Harrogate Borough Council has no cash on loan to Russian banks, our property funds are only invested in the United Kingdom and we have no share capital invested in Russian companies.
“We also do not purchase any services directly from Russian companies.”