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Sadiq Khan says UK government’s approach to Ukrainian refugees is ‘appalling’

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the British government’s bureaucracy regarding visas for Ukrainians was “appalling”.

He spoke on Saturday to people demonstrating in the British capital against the Russian invasion.

“We lobbied [the UK government] for weeks now to do what other countries in mainland Europe have done to make it much easier for people fleeing for their lives to be able to come to London,” he said.

“There is a disconnect between the generosity shown by Londoners… and the actions of our government.

“Complex visa forms, delay, bureaucracy make things very difficult. I spoke to a Londoner yesterday who, after four weeks, was finally able to open his house to a Ukrainian. It shouldn’t be that difficult.

“I speak regularly to leaders in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland. And what I compare and contrast what we as a country have done with our government versus those, I’m embarrassed.

The rally in support of Ukraine was organized at the request of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who a few days ago called on people around the world to take to the streets in solidarity to show their support.

Crowds dressed in blue and yellow marched through central London holding banners reading “Stop Putin’s War”, “No Fly Zone” and “Solidarity with Ukraine”. They sang as the police followed.

Speeches will be delivered by Ukrainian politicians, European leaders and Mr. Khan himself.

The Mayor of London also expressed his gratitude to those offering rooms to refugees and urged them to continue to be generous.

“Well, I am full of admiration for everyone who opens their homes to Ukrainian refugees,” he said.

“I have been incredibly proud of the actions of Londoners over the past few days and weeks. And what is clear is that we are sending a loud and clear message that refugees are welcome here.

Updated: March 26, 2022, 4:07 p.m.