Ukrainian orphans given green light to come to UK, Home Secretary says

Priti Patel confirmed the youngsters, who have been evacuated from Ukraine by charity Dnipro Kids, would be allowed to travel to the UK.

17 March 2022

A group of Ukrainian orphans evacuated from their war-torn country by a Scottish charity can travel to the UK, the Home Secretary has confirmed.

Priti Patel said that the 48 youngsters, who were taken out of Ukraine and into Poland by the Dnipro Kids organisation, have been given the green light to travel to Britain.

It comes after SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford raised their plight in the House of Commons on Wednesday, saying then that the Home office was the “only obstacle” to bringing them to the safety of the UK.

On Thursday, Ms Patel said: “It is deeply troubling that children from the charity Dnipro Kids have been caught up in Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

“I have been working directly with the Ukrainian government and asked for their permission to bring these children to the UK.

“I am extremely grateful to the authorities in Ukraine, who have now confirmed to me that the children can come here.”

She added: “We are working urgently with Poland to ensure the children’s swift arrival to the UK.”

Dnipro Kids, which was established by fans of Hibernian Football Club, took the children from its orphanage in Dnipro in the wake of the Russian invasion.

Mr Blackford said the children were expected to arrive in Scotland on Monday “all things being well”.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford raised the plight of the youngsters in the House of Commons (House of Commons/PA)

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted we’ve managed to achieve this breakthrough and that, all things being well, Scotland will welcome 48 Ukrainian children and their guardians to safety on Monday.”

The SNP MP added: “While this process has been more difficult than it needed to be, all that matters now is that these children will be in a place of safety and I am pleased beyond words.

“I want to pay tribute to everyone who has worked hard to make this happen including the Scottish charity Dnipro kids, the Ukrainian and Polish authorities, the Scottish Government, Edinburgh City Council, and all those who have helped resolve issues at the Home Office.

“It’s essential that the UK Government learns lessons and removes unnecessary barriers and delays to supporting displaced children and families.”

Mr Blackford continued: “Not all children will be in the position of having guardians and adults to support them, and the Home Office must ensure there are safe, smooth and quick ways for them to access visas and reach safety. It’s far from clear to me how that can happen under the present system.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “It is great news that the Dnipro Kids will soon be on their way to Scotland.

“We have all been moved by their story and I’m very glad the UK Government was able to move so quickly to smooth their passage here.

“I’m very grateful to the Hibs fans’ Dnipro Kids charity and all others involved in getting the children out of Ukraine safely. Scotland has a proud history of supporting refugees, and I’m sure these young people will be made incredibly welcome when they get here.”

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