More than 1.5million refugees have now fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries since Vladimir Putin invaded, United Nations figures have shown. it comes as the UK has been slammed for apparently turning away Ukrainian refugees at Calais.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi called the migrant crisis the ‘fastest growing crisis in Europe since World War II’.
He tweeted yesterday morning: ‘More than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighbouring countries in 10 days — the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.’
On Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited a welcome centre set up by Polish authorities in what once was a shopping centre in Korczowa, where roughly 3,000 refugees are taking shelter.
Mr Blinken heard harrowing tales from mothers and their children who described long and perilous journeys – and the shock of the sudden disruption and the fear for their lives – after fleeing the devastation of the war.
“Near our home we heard bombs,” said Venera Ahmadi, 12, who said she came with her brother and sister, six dogs and seven cats from Kyiv – 372 miles away.
“We walked to the border, I don’t know how many hours. We crossed the border on foot.”
French interior minister Gerald Darmanin, in a strongly-worded letter to Priti Patel, urged London to set up a proper consular presence in Calais to issue visas after 150 Ukrainians were turned away and asked to obtain visas at UK consulates in Paris or Brussels.
Darmanin said the UK’s response was “completely unsuitable” and showed a “lack of humanity” towards refugees “in distress”, reported news agency AFP.
“It is imperative that your consular representation, exceptionally and for the duration of this crisis, is able to issue visas for family reunification on the spot in Calais,” Mr Darmanin added.