Home POLITICS UK “scenario planning” for refugees from Ukraine conflict

UK “scenario planning” for refugees from Ukraine conflict

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A source has told the BBC the government is “scenario planning” for an increase in asylum seekers from Ukraine. Meanwhile, charities are urging the the government to welcome thousands of refugees from Ukraine, matching the effort made after the 1990s conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

The UK should play a leading role in providing sanctuary, Save the Children and Amnesty International, among others, said in a letter to the Times.

As the first Russian airstrikes hit Ukraine on Thursday, roads out of the country became clogged with traffic and some people walked on foot, wheeling their possession in suitcases, across the border into Poland and Hungary.

UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi told the BBC that more than 100,000 people were thought to have fled their homes and said the consequences for their welfare could be “devastating”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the humanitarian impact of the conflict “threatens to be enormous”, but added the UK needed to do everything it could to stabilise Ukraine’s economy and support its government.

In their letter, the charities – which also include the International Rescue Committee UK, the Refugee Council, and dozens of other humanitarian groups – said the Ukraine attack could be “the most significant European conflict since the collapse of Yugoslavia”.

“A generation ago, the UK saved the lives of thousands of families from the Balkans through an evacuation and resettlement programme,” they said.

“The government should now respond with a well-resourced initiative working with councils across the country, to welcome Ukrainians who need sanctuary.”

The charities also urged the government to rethink its Nationality and Borders Bill, which they said would make it harder for refugees like those from Ukraine to claim asylum in the UK.

The bill would make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and introduce life sentences for those who facilitate illegal entry into the country, potentially penalising those seeking sanctuary.

Visa applications from Ukraine for people who are not related to British nationals are currently suspended, meaning there is no legal route for them to enter the UK and claim asylum.

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