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Emmanuel Macron condemns UK's 'grand statements' over Ukrainian refugees

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has criticised Britain for not living up to its “grand speeches” about helping people fleeing conflict in Ukraine.

The French president, speaking at the conclusion of an EU summit held in Versailles, welcomed Britain’s new policy. This follows widespread condemnation for the UK’s response to the crisis.

Over 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine. The largest refugee crisis in Europe since WWII has been caused by Russia’s invasion.

Russia declares that Western arms shipments are now a ‘legitimate military target’ – Latest updates on Ukraine war

Image: Over 2.5 million people, including more than a million children, have fled Ukraine. Pic by AP

France was harshly critical of Britain’s inability to open a Visa Application Centre in Calais. This meant that refugees who had traveled thousands of miles to Calais were redirected to Paris and Brussels.

Macron stated: “I welcome Britain’s shift, which indicates there was a problem, in spite of what was being said.

“I don’t think anyone would have understood that, despite all our grand statements together, the British government continued applying current rules that meant that they didn’t welcome Ukrainian refugees seeking to reach British soil.”

After she mentioned that a visa center had been established “en route to Calais”, there were calls for Priti Patel to quit as Home Secretary. This was not true.

Key developments:

* On Friday, Vladimir Putin’s forces launched airstrikes in Kyiv (Kharkiv) and Mariupol

* Russia also used long-range, precision weapons to “put out of action” military airfields at Lutsk (and Ivano-Frankivsk)

* A Ukrainian mayor was taken by Russian forces. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claims

* The invasion has claimed the deaths of thousands of soldiers and civilians on both sides.

* 7.144 people were evacuated from the four cities of Ukraine on Friday, Mr Zelenskyy reports

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Ukraine war Day 16

Britain’s policy changes

The UK refused to grant visa-free asylum to Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion. Only those who had close family in Britain or were able to get sponsorship from a third party were allowed to enter the country.

A second system for processing refugee requests is now in place. Individuals, charities, businesses, and community groups will be able offer accommodation to people fleeing conflict.

Talking to the Beth Rigby interviews… program, Mr Johnson stated that Levelling up Secretary Michael Gove would detail the “generous” new sponsored humanitarian route Monday.

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The UK’s Ukraine family program will have a hotline and website for refugees looking to find accommodation.

Starmer in the crisis

Shadow leader Sir Kier Starmer said that he was happy to accept a Ukrainian refugee to his home when asked by Sky News on Saturday.

Ukrainians can now apply online for visas. They no longer need to visit a Visa Application Centre in person. Once they have arrived in Ukraine, successful applicants will be able to provide their biometrics.

French Home Affairs Minister Gerald Darmanin had written to Ms Patel in the past, urging her to reduce red tape surrounding refugees entering the country. Also, to establish UK consular services at Calais.

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Zelenskyy claims that Russia is moving to a “new stage of terror”

EU granted immediate residency rights to Ukrainian refugees, along with access to healthcare and the labor market. Citizens of Ukraine have already been granted 90-day visa-free access to the EU.

According to the Red Cross, the best way to address the refugee crisis is to eliminate visa requirements. This has already been done by France and Germany.

Continue reading:

Ukraine Invasion explained

Which chemical and biological weapons might Russia possess – and how has Russia used them before?

Russia’s invasion in Ukraine mapped – What happened on day 16


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