Johnson insists visa checks are necessary for Ukrainians fleeing war

Boris Johnson said the paperwork was necessary to prevent ‘unscrupulous’ Vladimir Putin from exploiting the situation.

09 March 2022

Boris Johnson resisted calls from Kyiv and within his own party to drop visa requirements for Ukrainians fleeing the violence, insisting the security checks were vital to prevent Vladimir Putin sending agents to the UK.

The Prime Minister said a thousand visas had been granted under the scheme allowing relatives of people in Britain to flee the war zone to join their families and he promised another programme allowing individuals to offer a home to Ukrainians would be set out in “the next few days”.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace promised extra military equipment for the Ukrainian forces, with fresh supplies of anti-tank missiles and the possibility of anti-aircraft systems.

Prime Minister’s Questions
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions (House of Commons/PA)

The Government has come under pressure to do more to take in refugees fleeing Ukraine as Vladimir Putin’s forces continue to bombard towns and cities.

The European Union has allowed visa-free travel, but Mr Johnson insisted that the UK was right to require the paperwork to be completed.

“We’ve already got 1,000 people in under the existing scheme, that number will climb very sharply,” Mr Johnson said. “No-one has been turned away.”

But he added: “We know how unscrupulous Putin can be in his methods, it would not be right to expose this country to unnecessary security risk and we will not do it.

“We are going to be as generous as we can possibly be, but we must have checks.”

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