Ukrainian refugees fleeing war rest at a youth hostel in Calais, northern France.
(Photo: via Associated Press)
Nearly 89,000 households have offered to host Ukrainian refugees as part of the UK government sponsorship scheme less than 24 hours after it was created.
The ministers outlined the details of the program that allows individuals and organizations to offer a home to people fleeing fighting in their homeland after Russiathe invasion of
By Monday night, more than 43,000 had registered to take in Ukrainians fleeing war in their homeland.
But by lunchtime on Tuesday, the prime minister’s official spokesman revealed that the figure had reached nearly 89,000.
The spokesman said: “The Prime Minister commends the generosity and support of the British people.”
Communities Secretary Michael Gove announced the scheme as the government scrambled to make it easier for people to come to the UK following widespread criticism of its response so far.
Nearly three million people have fled Ukraine since Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian strikes and civilians continued to be caught up in the fighting on Monday.
It came after a Russian airstrike in central kyiv killed one person and wounded six others, Ukrainian officials said, while two people were killed in the capital’s northern Obolonskyi district when artillery fire hit a building. of apartments.
There have been 1,663 civilian casualties since the invasion, the UK Ministry of Defense said, citing United Nations figures, though the real statistic may be much higher, with “indiscriminate Russian bombing and airstrikes…causing widespread destruction.” “.
The UN refugee agency believes that more than 2.8 million people have left Ukraine in search of safety.
The Russians claimed that 20 civilians were killed in Donetsk by a ballistic missile launched by Ukrainian forces.
Ukrainian and Russian officials held more peace talks via video link and discussions will continue on Tuesday.
In the House of Commons, Gove said that the Ukrainian people were “victims of savage, indiscriminate and unprovoked aggression” and that “their courage under fire and their determination to resist inspired our total admiration.”
Previously, only Ukrainians with family members already established in the UK could come.
But under the new scheme, sponsors can provide a route for Ukrainians without family ties to come to the UK.
Gove said “in recognition of their generosity” a tax-free monthly payment of £350 will be provided to people for each family they care for.
Sponsors can be of any nationality as long as they have permission to be in the UK for at least six months.
A new website will allow people to register their interest ahead of phase one of the applications opening on Friday.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.