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UK's Ukrainian Refugee Scheme Is Caught Up In Confusion As Ministers Contradict One Another

UK's Ukrainian Refugee Scheme Is Caught Up In Confusion As Ministers Contradict One Another
2 min read

Plans for how the UK intends to help Ukrainian refugees have reached a logjam inside government, with ministers contradicting each other and causing confusion over the policy.

On Sunday Home Secretary Priti Patel told The Sun she was planning to establish a new humanitarian route for Ukrainians fleeing Russia's attacks amid continued pressure on the government to match the generosity of EU allies in its scheme.

Currently only Ukrainians with relatives in the UK can seek refuge here, while those who do not will only be able to come if they are sponsored by an individual, business, charity or organisation.

But Patel said she was now "investigating the legal options to create a humanitarian route" for Ukrainians without family ties in the UK after witnessing the "desperation" of people trying to cross the Polish border over the weekend.

“This means anyone without ties to the UK fleeing the conflict in Ukraine will have a right to come to this nation,” she added. 

Foreign office minister James Cleverly appeared to contradict Patel on Monday morning, however, when he told BBC Breakfast her remarks had been referring to "what has been in place previously", not a new scheme.

Boris Johnson himself refused to commit to Patel's suggestion that a third humanitarian route for Ukrainian refugees could be opened up. 

He said that while the UK would have a "very, very generous" scheme in place for Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country, it would not adopt a system "where people can come into the UK without any checks or any controls at all" because that would not be "the right approach".

A senior Home Office source admitted that Ukrainian refugee policies were still under discussion, and they still do not know whether Patel was planning to announce a new route.

A Downing Street spokesperson also failed to clarify whether or not a new route for Ukrainians was being worked up, pointing only to the measures that have already been announced, inclusing the sponsorship route, which allows those without family ties to come to the UK. 

“We've set out the two routes that we are putting in place," they said. 

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