Macron condemns UK response to Ukrainian refugee crisis by attacking visa policy


French President Emmanuel Macron has slammed the British government for failing to live up to its “grand declarations” on helping Ukrainian refugees. Speaking at the end of an EU summit, Mr Macron reportedly criticized Britain’s visa policy which required applicants to do so in person in Brussels or Paris.

His comments come as the government intends to further step up pressure on the Kremlin. In a Saturday morning update, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said fighting northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kiev was continuing, with the bulk of Russian ground forces now about 25 kilometers from its center. .

The French president said this further worsened the circumstances for those fleeing the war, according to newspaper reports. He added: ‘Despite all the grand pronouncements…the UK Government continued to apply the current rules which meant they did not welcome Ukrainian refugees who wanted to reach UK soil saying they had to travel hundreds of kilometers to apply for a visa.

“I hope that the Ukrainian men and women who lived through the horror and crossed Europe to join their families in British territory will be treated better.”

In response to Mr Macron’s reported remarks, the Home Office highlighted earlier comments by Home Secretary Priti Patel, who said: “We are now making the process quicker and simpler by removing the need to physically visiting visa application centers for many who are making the perilous journey across Europe.

Meanwhile, Tony Stein, managing director of Healthcare Management Solutions, suggested on Saturday morning that Ukrainians fleeing war could find jobs and accommodation in Britain’s care sector. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Many operators have employment-related accommodation.

“And there’s got to be a way, I think, of putting the two things together and helping some of the refugees coming in, who may well have the skills that we’re looking for…they may be nurses or people who have looked after forward who would be a great fit for roles in this country.

The UK government also intends to step up pressure on the Kremlin with plans to ban luxury goods exports to Russia. Details of the plans will be worked out in the coming days, Downing Street said.

The Ukraine crisis is expected to be a talking point when Boris Johnson meets Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin for talks on Saturday. The UK has now sanctioned more than 500 high-value individuals and entities since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, while Russian aircraft, including the oligarchs’ private jets, are banned in the UK.

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