Breather for refugees stuck in Calais

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to defend his approach, saying that the U.K. could not accept people entering without any checks or any controls at all…reports Asian Lite News

Ukrainians arriving in France’s English Channel port city of Calais with hopes of joining family in Britain can request visas at the local prefecture from Friday. The structure was quickly set up by British authorities following complaints over treatment of stranded refugees.

A British consular post was being set up at the prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais region in nearby Arras, the prefecture said in a statement Thursday.

Ukrainians who fled the war with Russia in their homeland, arriving in Calais after long journeys, had previously been told to make their visa requests in Paris or Brussels, a policy French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said last Sunday was a bit inhumane. He urged Britain to stop the technocratic nit-picking.

Several hundred Ukrainians have been turned back at British entry points in Calais in a situation the prefecture had described this week as unrealistic.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to defend his approach, saying that the U.K. could not accept people entering without any checks or any controls at all.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain, Vadym Prystaiko, has urged the government to suspend visa requirements for Ukrainians fleeing the war, assuring lawmakers we will take care of them if the U.K. eases its rules.

Calais has for years been a magnet for migrants from around the world trying to sneak across the English Channel to Britain. Britain has put the onus on France to keep them out, while providing aid.

The European Union, of which Britain is not a member, has dropped immigration rules for arriving Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s invasion. Britain says it expects to take in as many as 200,000 Ukrainians. But as of Wednesday, the number of visas issued was just below 1,000.

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