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Emmanuel Macron condemns the UK for not helping Ukrainian refugees

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Emmanuel Macron has condemned the UK for not living up to ‘grand statements’ it made on helping Ukrainian refugees and claimed that Britain’s visa policy made it harder for those fleeing war. 

Speaking at the end of an EU summit in Versailles on Friday, Mr Macron reportedly criticised Britain’s visa policy which required applicants to make them in person in Brussels or Paris. 

Mr Macron said this further exacerbated circumstances for those fleeing the war, according to The Guardian. 

He added: ‘Despite all the grand statements… the British government continued to apply current rules that meant they did not welcome Ukrainian refugees who wanted to reach British soil saying they have to travel hundreds of kilometres in order to apply for a visa.’

Emmanuel Macron has condemned the UK for not living up to'grand statements' it made on helping Ukrainian refugees and claimed that Britain's visa policy made it harder for those fleeing war

Emmanuel Macron has condemned the UK for not living up to ‘grand statements’ it made on helping Ukrainian refugees and claimed that Britain’s visa policy made it harder for those fleeing war

The Home Office responded to Mr Macron’s reported remarks by pointing to previous comments from Home Secretary Priti Patel which said: ‘We are now making the process quicker and simpler by removing the need to physically visit visa application centres for many of those who are making the perilous journey across Europe.’

Ms Patel announced on Thursday that from Tuesday onwards people will be able to apply online for a visa and will not have to go to a processing centre to give their biometrics. 

Meanwhille, Tony Stein, chief executive of Healthcare Management Solutions, suggested on Saturday morning that Ukrainian people fleeing the war could find jobs and a place to live through the UK care sector.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘A lot of operators have job-related accommodation. And there must be a way, I think, of putting the two things together and helping some of the refugees coming over, who may well have the skills that we’re looking for… they may be nurses or people who’ve cared before who would be perfectly suited to roles in this country.’

Speaking at the end of an EU summit in Versailles on Friday, Mr Macron reportedly criticised Britain's visa policy which required applicants to make them in person in Brussels or Paris. Pictured: PM Boris Johnson at the Six Nations Match at Twickenham Stadium today

Speaking at the end of an EU summit in Versailles on Friday, Mr Macron reportedly criticised Britain’s visa policy which required applicants to make them in person in Brussels or Paris. Pictured: PM Boris Johnson at the Six Nations Match at Twickenham Stadium today

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in an update this morning that fighting to the north-west of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv continued, with most of Russian ground forces now around 25 kilometres from the centre.   

Elements of the large Russian column north of Kyiv have dispersed, the MoD added, which it said is likely to support an attempt by the aggressors to encircle the city.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government said a mosque in the city of Mariupol had been shelled by the Russian military.  

The Home Office responded to Mr Macron's reported remarks by pointing to previous comments from Home Secretary Priti Patel which said:'We are now making the process quicker and simpler by removing the need to physically visit visa application centres for many of those who are making the perilous journey across Europe'

The Home Office responded to Mr Macron’s reported remarks by pointing to previous comments from Home Secretary Priti Patel which said: ‘We are now making the process quicker and simpler by removing the need to physically visit visa application centres for many of those who are making the perilous journey across Europe’

The mosque was sheltering more than 80 people and there were no reported casualties.  

President Volodymyr Zelensky also accused Russia of kidnapping the mayor of Melitopol, a port city in the South of Ukraine. 

Meanwhile, to further ramp up pressure on the Kremlin, the UK Government is planning to ban exports of luxury goods to Russia in the latest move to isolate Vladimir Putin.  

Downing Street said that details of the plan will be set out in the coming days.  

President Volodymyr Zelensky also accused Russia of kidnapping the mayor of Melitopol, a port city in the South of Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky also accused Russia of kidnapping the mayor of Melitopol, a port city in the South of Ukraine

It came as Boris Johnson joined with other G7 leaders on Friday to commit to further increase the pressure on the Russian president’s regime.  

The leaders agreed to take steps to deny Russia ‘most favoured nation’ status on key products.

No 10 said the move would significantly reduce the ability of Russian businesses to export.   

Speaking last night on the news, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK stood ‘united with our G7 partners’ and would ‘continue strengthening our response’ to put a halt to Russia’s aggression against its neighbour.  

Meanwhile, to further ramp up pressure on the Kremlin, the UK Government is planning to ban exports of luxury goods to Russia in the latest move to isolate Vladimir Putin

Meanwhile, to further ramp up pressure on the Kremlin, the UK Government is planning to ban exports of luxury goods to Russia in the latest move to isolate Vladimir Putin

However, Labour said the ban on luxury goods ‘should not have taken this long.’  

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s shadow international trade secretary, said: ‘Labour has been calling for weeks now for a ban on luxury goods being sent to Russia, so it is welcome that the UK Government have finally listened – but it should not have taken this long.

‘We cannot allow Putin, and his cronies in Moscow, to live a Mayfair lifestyle while they kill innocent people in their illegal invasion of Ukraine.’

The announcement came after Britain sanctioned nearly 400 Russian parliamentarians, in a bid to ‘tighten the screw’ on Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.  

Speaking last night on the news, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK stood'united with our G7 partners' and would'continue strengthening our response' to put a halt to Russia's aggression against its neighbour

Speaking last night on the news, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK stood ‘united with our G7 partners’ and would ‘continue strengthening our response’ to put a halt to Russia’s aggression against its neighbour

Also yesterday, former Tory foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt argued that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was ‘the biggest failure of Western foreign and security policy in our lifetimes’.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he said: ‘It happened because we forgot the most fundamental lesson of the Cold War: the power of deterrence.’

He added: ‘Instead of peace through strength we caused war through weakness.’

Labour's shadow international trade secretary, said:'Labour has been calling for weeks now for a ban on luxury goods being sent to Russia, so it is welcome that the UK Government have finally listened - but it should not have taken this long

Labour’s shadow international trade secretary, said: ‘Labour has been calling for weeks now for a ban on luxury goods being sent to Russia, so it is welcome that the UK Government have finally listened – but it should not have taken this long

Mr Hunt also said the UK should increase spending on ‘defence, aid and soft power’ to at least 4 per cent of GDP over the next decade.   

The Treasury responded by saying that the MoD had received ‘the largest sustained spending increase since the end of the Cold War – with a £24 billion uplift in cash terms over the four-year Spending Review period’.

‘The UK is the second largest Nato defence spender and we have always met our funding obligations – going well above Nato’s 2% spending target,’ a spokesperson said.

Also yesterday, former Tory foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt argued that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was'the biggest failure of Western foreign and security policy in our lifetimes' (file image)

Also yesterday, former Tory foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt argued that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was ‘the biggest failure of Western foreign and security policy in our lifetimes’ (file image)

The UK’s permanent representative to the United Nations earlier accused Russia of bringing about ‘wild, completely baseless and irresponsible conspiracy theories.’ 

It came as the UN security council met at the request of Russia to discuss claims levelled by Moscow about biological activities in Ukraine.  

Dame Barbara Woodward said Russia must not be allowed to ‘abuse its permanent seat’ on the council ‘to spread disinformation and lies’.

Boris Johnson has previously expressed fears Russia is spreading a ‘fake story’ that the US or the Ukrainians have chemical weapons in Ukraine as a pretext for an atrocity. 

The UK has now sanctioned more than 500 high-value individuals and entities since the invasion of Ukraine began, while Russian aircraft, including oligarchs’ private jets, are banned from the UK.

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