Analysis: Ukrainian refugee crisis isn’t as simple as waiving visas and it being sorted
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing, with the UN estimating that well over half a million need urgent help.
But despite the EU waiving all visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees, the UK is refusing to do so.
This has drawn a barrage of attacks on Wednesday from Ian Blackford, with the SNP’s Westminster leader urging the Prime Minister to “bring down their barriers”.
The obvious temptation with this is to link it to Brexit, accusing the UK Government of being anti-immigration and wanting to limit the numbers coming in, but to do so would be rash and foolish.
While initially slow with its response, Britain could still welcome more than 200,000 refugees, and has reacted to criticism by expanding the ways for people to come in.
The Russia Ukraine conflict is simple in that there is plainly a good and bad side in it, but the response to it is considerably more nuanced.
While it is true the UK has not waived visas like those in Europe, Priti Patel has explained this is due to conversations held with the Ukrainian government.
They are believed to prefer refugees stay in neighbouring countries so they can return and remain invested in its future, closer to home and with more belief it will still be there for them.
A government source explained: “There’s a danger that a narrative gets hold that ‘they’re all fleeing, they’re off to Berlin, Paris and London’.
“It would give Putin a propaganda tool, which is why the Ukrainian government is saying, ‘We need people to stay, and we need people armed with guns’.”
The UK Government could do more, but it does believe it’s doing the right thing with its response, which is also supported by polling.
Polling shows six in ten Britons support a scheme to resettle Ukrainian refugees in the UK, with half saying its a moral obligation.
Respondents did not push for more than the 200,000 figure offered, so the Government is striking a balance it believes in that’s backed by voters.
This is not about votes, it’s about what is right and what ministers think is the best response for Ukraine.
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