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Ukraine ‘humiliated’ by 150,000 Brits who want to open homes for Ukrainian refugees

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Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko speaks to the media outside the Ukrainian Embassy in London (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Ukraine is “honoured” by the more than 150,000 Britons who have expressed an interest in hosting refugees fleeing the Russian invasion, the nation’s ambassador to the UK said.

Vadym Prystaiko said it has been a “bumpy ride” getting the government to establish visa-free travel since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his war, but he welcomed the Homes for Ukraine scheme when it was opened up for visa applications. refugees on Friday.

Concerns have been raised about the program’s bureaucracy, protection and resources, as Ukrainians are paired with British sponsors.

But the ambassador is cautiously optimistic, saying “this is a temporary fix, but I hope it works” as they work out details including school places and jobs, and is hopeful that any issues linking refugees to their homes can” be fixed very soon.”

In an interview with the PA news agency, he said: “We are at an early stage of this work, but I am so grateful that the UK government and citizens are opening their hearts and sometimes their homes, offering to Ukrainians stay here. .

I’m humbled by how many people are opening up, sometimes just saying, ‘I have a spare room, it’s not even a spare house or an apartment, it’s just a spare room.’

vadym pristaiko

“I’m humbled by how many people are opening up, sometimes just saying, ‘I have a spare room, it’s not even a spare house or an apartment, it’s just a spare room.'” This is something very unusual.”

Speaking from the Ukrainian embassy in west London, Prystaiko said that in his talks with ministers he roughly estimates that between 100,000 and 200,000 Ukrainians will want to seek temporary refuge in the UK.

More than 150,000 people in Britain had registered their interest in the scheme as of Thursday, and refugees who found a sponsor could start applying on the government’s website from Friday.

Those with valid passports who apply under the scheme will receive a letter of permission from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) confirming they can travel to the UK.

Prystaiko also sounded the alarm about Ukraine’s need for more humanitarian aid as Kremlin troops surround major cities and bombard them with missiles.

And he warned that the war could have further effects on the world’s food supplies.

“Ukraine is a major agricultural producer in the world, if we don’t start planting grains, the world will feel it very soon, at the end of this year this domino effect… there will not be enough food not only for Ukrainians.” , the Ukrainians will survive, but for the rest of the world… ”, she said.

“Those things have to be thought about right now. And humane, Europe’s breadbasket now begins for food. This is an effect that the war is having on us right now.”

He welcomed Britain sending defensive weapons but said “we need a lot more” as he continued talks with ministers.

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