Ukraine-Russia crisis: Edinburgh ex-MP offers to take family fleeing Kyiv into his home
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John Barrett, who was Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West from 2001 until 2010, said he had offered accommodation to a family he knows in Ukraine, but while they could move freely to an EU country they would need visas to come here.
He said: “I keep in touch with this family in Kyiv who I’ve known for many years and I had said if things get really bad why not come over here and we'll put you up. I got an email yesterday saying they could hear the explosions.
“The problem is they can go to an EU country where they don't need a visa but they would need to apply for a British visa to escape.
“The government should make provision for temporary visas – these are not people who want to emigrate here. We ought to be welcoming folk who might be getting bombs dropped on them.”
Mr Barrett said the family had not indicated they were wanting to come to the UK yet.
"They're not at that stage yet – they are hoping it doesn’t deteriorate that badly. But even if they're not coming, I think we should be able to grant them a visa – they should not be having to queue up at an embassy at the last minute.
“Romania said it could take 500,000, Poland's getting ready for potential exodus. We ought to be saying at the British embassy out there that if you've got a place to go and you can get a flight we'll give you a temporary six-month visa.
"At the moment they can go to the EU where they don't need a visa but they can't come here.”
It is reported today that the UK visa application centre in Kiev has closed and all related services in the Ukrainian capital have been suspended.
Ukrainians without close British relatives can only obtain UK visas if they can travel to centres in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Moldova.