Almost 1.4 million refugees have fled Ukraine
France24

Britain has been accused of "lacking humanity" by France for not doing more to help Ukrainians in Calais reunite with their families in the UK.

It comes after 150 Ukrainians were turned away at Calais, refused entry to the UK and told to acquire their visa at the UK's consulates either in Paris or Brussels, The Independentreported.

Home secretary Priti Patel had announced the Ukraine family visa scheme last week during a visit to Medyka in eastern Poland that will enable more than 200,000 Ukrainians to stay in the UK for up to three years.

“I have developed the Ukraine family scheme following discussions with the Ukrainian government and neighbouring countries and I am proud to have launched it within a matter of days, enabling Ukrainians with family in the United Kingdom to be welcomed safely, quickly and free of charge,” Patel said before her visit.

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However, she is facing criticism. French interior minister Gerald Darmanin has urged Patel to improve consular representation in the port city and didn't hold back on what he thought about his neighbour's response - describing it “completely unsuitable” and showed a “lack of humanity” towards refugees “in distress”, news agency AFP reported.

"Our coasts have been the scene of too many human tragedies. Let’s not add to that those Ukrainian families,” Darmanin added.

Hundreds of Ukrainians had travelled to Calais after the French government announced last week that Britain would have a temporary visa centre there.

This news comes as BBC Radio 5 covered a story about how a Ukrainian mother and her 8-year-old daughter were denied entry into the UK at Calais even though the mother had been working in the UK and was told to go to Paris to apply for a visa.

This has caused widespread outrage on Twitter, with people slamming the UK government for not doing more to help Ukrainians.

Countdown's Susie Dent took to Twitter to share her dismay when she heard about the Ukrainian mother and daughter struggle to be accepted into the UK on BBC Radio 5.

LBC Radio presenter James O'Brien described the situation as "the national disgrace of letting base Faragist racism define our asylum policy."

British solicitor Nazir Afzal questioned "how Boris Johnson, Priti Patel etc can sleep when this is the ONE aspect of the Russian invasion they control."


Director of Stand for All, Daniel Sohege noted: "It is things like this which are why people have to cross the channel in small boats to seek asylum."

Labour MP, Yvette Cooper described the situation as "shocking" and added that "Priti Patel needs to get a grip."

Author Emma Kennedy said she "doesn't want to read a single other thing about the war in Ukraine being 'the making' of Boris Johnson" after hearing about the 150 Ukrainian being turned away at the border.

Director of Good Law Project, Jo Maugham slammed the government, calling them "dishonest and shameful."

There have also been calls for the Home Office to create a visa that allows anyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine to come to the UK.

The head of the UN refugee agency has said more than 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine in search of sanctuary in neighbouring countries within the 10 days since the invasion began.

"This is now the fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II. In the coming days millions more lives will be uprooted, unless there is an immediate end to this senseless conflict," the UN Refugee Agency tweeted.

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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