Ukrainian ambassador calls for end to ‘bureaucratic red tape’ hindering refugees

Ukrainian ambassador calls for end to ‘bureaucratic red tape’ hindering refugees
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said plans are in place to take 100,000 children into UK schools.

The Ukrainian ambassador has called for an end to “bureaucratic red tape” blocking some refugees from seeking sanctuary in Britain, as the Education Secretary said plans are in place to take 100,000 children into UK schools.

Vadym Prystaiko said “we will deal… later with any issues” with documentation, saying some people “fleeing under bombardment” in Ukraine have not been able to get their passports.

Speaking on BBC’s Question Time, he said: “I understand that security checks should be done – I get it all.

“I just wanted to tell (you) that most of our men are staying behind and fighting, so… most of the people you will see (are) just women with children, which I totally hope they’re not posing any threat, especially a terrorist threat to (the) UK.

“So that’s why I hope and I beg that the procedures will be dropped and every bureaucratic red tape should be cancelled.

I hope and I beg that the procedures will be dropped and every bureaucratic red tape should be cancelled

Vadym Prystaiko, Ukrainian ambassador to UK

“We will deal… later with any issues, sometimes it’s documents, but there is (an) embassy here for you to help with the documents, some people couldn’t even get their passports because they are fleeing under bombardment.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said plans were under way in his department to take “100,000 children… into our schools”.

Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Johnson continued to resist calls, including from Mr Prystaiko, to drop visa requirements for Ukrainians fleeing the violence – insisting the security checks were vital to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin infiltrating agents into the UK.

The Ukrainian ambassador hit out at the bureaucracy of the British system, telling MPs: “I don’t want to see these pictures of people banging at the doors in Calais and scratching the doors which are quite sealed.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi (James Manning/PA)
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi (James Manning/PA)

Asked if the UK policy towards bringing refugees over from Ukraine was a “success”, Mr Zahawi told Question Time: “What you are seeing now is a surge in our capability to take more Ukrainians… I can tell you in my own department, in education, I have a team that’s already making plans for a capacity of 100,000 children that we will take into our schools.”

He added: “When there’s a malign state that can use this particular issue to send people over to the UK that can do us harm, we have to have some checks. We need to streamline that, we need to get better at it and you will see that number increase of people we bring in.”

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