France slams Britain’s ‘lack of humanity’ as refugees from Ukraine turned away in Calais

French Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin cracked down on Home Secretary Priti Patel in an angry letter in which he said 150 Ukrainians had been told to apply for visas in Paris and not anywhere near the English Channel

Priti Patel on a visit to the Polish side of the Ukrainian border on Friday
Priti Patel on a visit to the Polish side of the Ukrainian border on Friday

A French minister has accused Britain of a “lack of humanity” after Ukrainian refugees were prevented from entering the UK in Calais.

Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin has blasted Home Secretary Priti Patel over Britain’s accommodations for people fleeing the Russian invasion.

The Sunday Mirror reported today how families with ties to Britain are flocking to the French port after traveling more than 1,000 miles from their war-torn country.

However, the UK system is restricted to people with certain family members in the UK – including parents, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren – and they must apply for a visa.

Even for those eligible, France says they cannot get a visa in Calais itself.

Mr Darmanin said around 150 Ukrainians were turned away by UK border guards and told to return to Paris or Brussels for visas.

In a letter to Ms Patel, leaked to AFP, he accused London of a “completely inadequate response” and “a lack of humanity”.

Katerina, Glib, Victoria, Maiia and Valentina are awaiting British aid in France, the Sunday Mirror reports


Charlie Varley/

He urged Britain to set up a visa application center in Calais.

There is currently one in Paris, 150 miles away – but he told French radio it was “a bit inhumane” to expect people to travel all the way there after their long journeys from Ukraine.

“The British need to put their rhetoric into action, I heard the big words of generosity from Mr (Boris) Johnson,” Mr Darmanin said. “I hope this allows the English to open their arms a bit and end the technocratic nitpicking.”

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper tweeted: “Shocking – Ukrainian families have been turned away by Britain at Calais and told to return to Paris for a visa.

“Priti Patel needs to get a grip on himself. Send a Home Office emergency team to Calais immediately to sort this out today and get desperate people through quickly.

She added: “Have government ministers lost all humanity and solidarity?”

Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin


Agency Anadolu via Getty Images)

Mr Darmanin told Radio Europe 1: “I called my UK counterpart twice.

“I’ve asked them to set up a consulate in Calais that can process people’s papers and issue visas.”

It came as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees revealed that more than 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled across the border in just 10 days.

He said it was “the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II”.

British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab did not deny that the refugees had been turned away.

But he said: “Look, if we just open the door, not only are we not going to benefit the people that we need, the real refugees, but I think we’re undermining popular support for this very thing, so think.” I don’t that’s the thing.

“We need to make sure we act on behalf of those who need our support.”

Civilians from Ukraine arrive at the Ukrainian-Polish border crossing in Medyka


Agency Anadolu via Getty Images)

The full family visa program opened on Friday, allowing applications from immediate family members. extended family circle; and immediate family members of the extended family.

Immediate family members are a spouse or domestic partner, an unmarried partner in a domestic partnership for two years or more, a child under the age of 18, a parent if their child is under the age of 18 in the UK, or a fiancee or proposed domestic partner.

The extended family includes adult children or their parents, grandparents, grandchildren or the partner’s grandchildren, as well as brothers and sisters.

Interior Ministry guidance recommends people apply for a visa “in a nearby country” to Ukraine after fleeing across the border — named Hungary, Moldova, Poland and Romania.

People are asked to fill out an application online, travel to the visa center to provide details like fingerprints, and then stay in the area until their application is processed.

A woman reacts as she crosses the border from Ukraine into Poland after fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine



If accepted, fleeing Ukrainians with families in the UK can live, work and claim benefits in the UK for three years – up from 12 months announced last week.

There are no application fees and unlike other migrants, Ukrainians don’t have to pay the £624 a year to use the NHS.

However, the system remains only for family members of people who are already British nationals or who have settled in the UK.

There will be a separate “humanitarian visa route” for companies, community groups or councils to sponsor Ukrainians with no family ties to the UK for an initial 12 months. But it hasn’t started yet.

The government claimed that up to 200,000 could be eligible for the family visa scheme – but only if every single eligible Ukrainian came to the UK.

Ministers admit they don’t know how many will apply.

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