In a letter addressed to his British counterpart Priti Patel this Saturday, the French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, criticized the "lack of humanity" of the United Kingdom towards the Ukrainian refugees turned back in Calais.
Seeking to join their families across the Channel, some 150 Ukrainians fleeing their country invaded by Russia have been asked in recent days by British officials “to turn around” and “go to Paris or Brussels” to obtain their visas. in the consulates, says the minister in this letter.
Gérald Darmanin continues by castigating this "totally unsuitable response" to refugees in "distress", "often women with young children, the elderly or disabled".
In total, "more than 400 Ukrainian nationals" have arrived in Calais since the start of the war, according to the Minister of the Interior.
For several days, their situation has been a source of friction between London and Paris, whose relations are already strained by the issue of illegal migrant crossings.
Gérald Darmanin calls on the British to follow the European example
The French government announced on Thursday that the United Kingdom would set up "a kind of consulate" in Calais to issue visas directly to Ukrainians there.
“It becomes imperative that your consular representation, exceptionally and for the time of the crisis, be able to issue visas for family reunification directly in Calais”, recalls Gérald Darmanin.
“Our coasts have been the scene of too many human tragedies,” he concludes, referring to the shipwreck that claimed the lives of 27 migrants at the end of November, “let's not add to that that of these Ukrainian families.
"It would be incomprehensible if consular reinforcements were deployed for this purpose all over Europe, and as far away as Ukraine, and that the same was not the case closest to your border", added the Minister of Interior.
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