Ukraine invasion: Boris Johnson says more than 200,000 Ukrainians could be allowed to join family in UK | Politics News

More than 200,000 Ukrainians could be allowed to join family in the UK amid the Russian invasion, Boris Johnson has said.

Speaking during a visit to Poland, the prime minister said the UK will “make it easier for Ukrainians already living in the UK to bring their relatives to our country”.

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UK rules out visa waiver for Ukrainians

Mr Johnson said exact numbers are “hard to calculate” but “they could be more than 200,000”.

He added: “What we are going to do is we are extending the family scheme so that actually very considerable numbers would be eligible … you could be talking about a couple of hundred thousand, maybe more.

“Additionally, we are going to have a humanitarian scheme and then a scheme by which UK companies and citizens can sponsor individual Ukrainians to come to the UK.”

Sky News understands the PM’s reference to expanding the number of Ukrainians allowed to join relatives in the UK means loosening the eligibility criteria from just spouses and children under 18 to grandparents, siblings and adult children, which means an additional 100,000 people are now eligible.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will make a statement to MPs around 1.30pm.

Speaking in the Commons on Monday, she ruled out a visa waiver for Ukrainians fleeing the conflict due to security concerns.

More than half a million Ukrainians have fled the country after Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine last week.

Mr Johnson’s said the UK “stands ready” to take Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion in “considerable numbers”.

Mr Johnson also said he is “more convinced than ever” that Putin’s military campaign will fail and that he had made a “colossal mistake” by invading Ukraine.

Mr Johnson said Putin was using “barbaric and indiscriminate tactics against innocent civilians” and was prepared to “bomb tower blocks, to send missiles into tower blocks, to kill children, as we are seeing in increasing numbers”.

He said evidence of the Russian president’s attacks on civilians could be used in a future trial at The Hague.

The PM also suggested ways in which sanctions against Russia could be strengthened, saying: “There is plainly more to be done on Swift, we can tighten up yet further on Swift, even though it has had a dramatic effect already I think we do need to go further.

“There’s more to be done on Sberbank, there’s more to be done on the freezing of Russian assets.

“I think there’s genuine amazement and dismay in Russia about what has happened already but there is more to be done.”

Mr Johnson said there could be more “severing of sporting links” and “cracking down on the billionaires associated with Vladimir Putin”.

The Russian president, he said, had “fatally underestimated” the resistance of the Ukrainians and the resolve of the West to act amid what he described as an “unfolding disaster in our European continent”.

The PM paid tribute to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, praising his “leadership and courage”, adding: “I think he has inspired and mobilised not only his own people, he is inspiring and mobilising the world in outrage at what is happening in Ukraine.”


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