Ukraine evacuations: Thousands flee cities of Irpin and Sumy
Independent

A map of all the places Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia can go to in Europe without a visa displays how different Britain's system is when compared on the international stage.

The map, which was shared by campaign group Best for Britain, shows that Ukrainians can go to any country in the European Union without a visa, while the same scheme does not apply in Britain.

As a bloc, the EU has taken in two million refugees so far, they have said, since they waived visas for those fleeing the conflict.

Under the emergency EU decision, Ukrainian refugees are allowed to work, send children to school, get housing and social welfare for up to three years, depending on how long the conflict continues.

“Europe stands by those in need of protection,” the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said in a statement that detailed the plans. “All those fleeing Putin’s bombs are welcome in Europe. We will provide protection to those seeking shelter and we will help those looking for a safe way home.”

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Britain's scheme, on the other hand, only permits those with family links in the UK to enter a country with a visa. It has been widely criticised by those among the Labour Party and human rights groups who say it does not go far enough to help.

Today, transport minister Grant Shapps told Sky News 760 visas had been approved in the UK but defended the UK's record.

The minister said: “Geographically, of course, we’re space further to the west. President Zelensky and the Ukrainian government have told me that they do not want people to move far away from the country, if at all possible, because they want people to come back.”

He added the UK’s insistence on visa controls for Ukrainians was the correct approach for security reasons. “I think you would expect us to be wanting to check people’s status before they come in," he said.

Take a look at the map:

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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