The French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, criticized on Saturday “lack of humanity” of the United Kingdom for hindering the entry of refugees Ukrainians trying to reach British territory to join their families through the Pas de Calais, in the English Channel.
Hundreds of Ukrainians They have arrived in recent days in the French city of Calais, at the French end of the Channel, fleeing the war unleashed by Russia against their country, hoping to cross it.
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But they came across one “totally inadequate response”who exhibited a “lack of humanity” towards refugees in situations of “abandonment“, many of them “women with children, elderly or disabled”Darmanin said in a letter to his British counterpart, Priti Patel.
According to Darmanin, about 150 Ukrainians who wanted to cross the maritime border were turned away by British officials in Calais, who urged them to go “to Paris or Brussels” to apply for visas at British consulates in those capitals.
The situation of the refugees Ukrainians adds a new element to the tensions of recent years between the two countries, due to the pressure of thousands of illegal migrants trying to cross the English Channel in the direction of the United Kingdom.
The French government announced Thursday that London would open “a kind of consulate” in Calais, to deal with visa applications from citizens Ukrainians.
The French minister considered in his letter “imperative” that announcement materialize.
“Our coasts have already been the theater of too many human dramas” and it is not necessary “to add that of the Ukrainian families, he warns.
In November 2021, 27 migrants died when the boat with which they were trying to reach British shores capsized.
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