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06th Mar 2022

France urges UK to do more to help Ukrainian refugees in Calais

Charlie Herbert

France urges UK to do more to help Ukrainian refugees

France says British officials are turning away Ukrainians in Calais for not having the right paperwork

The French interior minister has sent a letter to Priti Patel urging that the UK do more to help fleeing Ukrainians trying to get across the Channel to Britain.

Earlier this week, Ukrainians fleeing their country were turned away at Calais as they tried to cross to the UK after they were told that they had to obtain visas at UK consulates in Paris and Brussels.

Gerald Darmanin has now asked that the British government set up a consulate in Calais to help Ukrainian refugees.

Speaking to Europe 1 radio, Darmanin said: “I have twice contacted twice my British counterpart [Priti Patel], I told her to set up a consulate in Calais.

“We have good relations with [Patel]. I am sure she is a decent person. I am sure she will solve this problem.”

Darmanin said hundreds of Ukrainians escaping their country following Putin’s invasion have arrived in Calais in the last few days. However, many have been turned away by British officials in the French port city, and were told they needed to go to Paris or Brussels to obtain the correct paperwork and visas, Reuters reports.

On Sunday, the United Nations said that 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion of the country began.

This is not the first time that Darmanin and Patel have clashed over immigration and refugees.

Last year, the French minister rejected proposals from Patel for the UK Border Force to have the power to turn back boats carrying migrants across the Channel. Darmanin rejected the proposals on the grounds that “safeguarding human lives at sea takes priority over considerations of nationality, status and migratory policy.”

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