Sturgeon says UK still not doing ‘anywhere near enough’ for Ukrainian refugees

The Scottish First Minister called for the UK to adopt a similar approach to Ireland.

07 March 2022

The UK is “not doing anywhere near enough” to help refugees fleeing the “horror” in Ukraine, Nicola Sturgeon has insisted.

The Scottish First Minister again challenged politicians at Westminster to make it easier for those escaping the conflict in Ukraine to come to the UK.

Ms Sturgeon insisted it was “unconscionable” that those who have made difficult journeys to escape the fighting and shelling had to “jump through bureaucratic hoops” and apply for a visa before they can enter the UK.

As rising numbers of Ukrainians look to leave their country in the wake of the Russian invasion, the First Minister insisted: “All countries must step up and fully play their part, and the UK is not yet doing so.”

Her comments came in the wake of France urging Britain to do more to help Ukrainian refugees trying to come to the UK from Calais.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin on Sunday said it was “inhumane” of the UK to turn away refugees arriving at the French port city if they did not have a valid visa.

UK Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has already stated he expects up to 200,000 Ukrainians could come to the UK through the family dependents route, while “the humanitarian route, that is uncapped”.

However, speaking on Monday Ms Sturgeon insisted that “on the issue of refugees the UK is not doing anywhere near enough”.

PA Graphics

The Scottish First Minister told radio station LBC: “I think the system that is in place of having people fleeing the terror in Ukraine spending hours and hours and hours on arduous journeys then having to jump through bureaucratic hoops is unconscionable.

“We only have to compare the 50 or so visas that have been granted for entry to the UK so far with more than 1,000 Ukrainians who have already managed to enter the Republic of Ireland, a country much, much smaller than the UK.

“And what Ireland is doing is what the UK should be doing – it is allowing people in and then doing the paperwork once they have managed to get that refuge and sanctuary here.”

Ms Sturgeon continued: “I think if the UK Government does not significantly change its approach here then increasingly there are going to be people looking at the UK and concluding that on a humanitarian level it is not doing nearly enough to help those fleeing horror and terror in Ukraine.

“We already have 1.5 million people who have been displaced, that number is only going to grow in the days and weeks ahead.”

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