The United Kingdom promised on Monday that it would ease its conditions for families of Ukrainians to obtain more Ukrainians living in their territory, but refused to fully open its borders to refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.
“Biometrics and security checks are necessary and will remain the same,” British Home Secretary Priti Patel told the AFP, adding that “these measures are essential to ensure Britain’s security.”
London has been criticized for its lack of generosity in getting Ukrainians to leave their country due to the Russian invasion.
In a more conservative statement compared to his European counterparts, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Sunday that UK residents could bring their family members living in Ukraine immediately.
On Monday, the Home Office announced that the “humanitarian route” would allow 100,000 people to “find sanctuaries” in the UK.
But Patel said, “Relatives of British (us) who do not meet the normal (visa) requirements that we (we) can ignore security checks will be allowed to enter the UK.”
He noted that the move would help “everyone living in the UK and the UK to bring their Ukrainian family members immediately”.
And that weekend came criticism of the British government in the context of the position of Minister of State for Immigration Kevin Foster.
Foster insisted in a tweet that he could withdraw and remove Ukrainians as seasonal workers, which provoked outrage.
On Monday, The Times published a satirical cartoon showing the Interior Minister asking a Ukrainian family trapped in a burning building to “pick the fruit” in exchange for a rescue ladder.
Critics have pointed to the sharp difference between the British pledge and the EU pledge, which supports granting temporary protection to Ukrainians who have the right to stay in the EU for up to three years and to work in its countries.
Labor MP Evad Cooper called the government’s decision to allow close family members of Ukrainians living in the UK “a disgrace.”
On Twitter, Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for “all Ukrainians wishing to enter the UK to be exempted from visa requirements as in any other country.”
Since the start of the Russian offensive in their country on Thursday, about 500,000 people have fled Ukraine and taken refuge in neighboring countries, more than half of whom have fled to Poland, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.
On Monday, the United Kingdom announced the imposition of additional sanctions on Moscow, including the freezing of assets of all Russian banks.
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