Ukrainian orphans given approval to move to UK, Priti Patel says

The 48 children were taken out of Ukraine and into Poland by a Scottish charity

A child cancer patient, one of many moved from Ukraine to the Unicorn Marian Wilemski Clinic in Bocheniec, Poland, to resume life-saving treatment, on March 17.  EPA
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Live updates: follow the latest news on Russia-Ukraine

A group of Ukrainian orphans taken from their war-torn country by a Scottish charity can travel to the UK, Home Secretary Priti Patel has said.

Ms Patel said the 48 children, who were taken out of Ukraine and into Poland by the Dnipro Kids organisation, have been given approval to travel to Britain.

Scottish National Party Westminster leader Ian Blackford raised their plight in the House of Commons on Wednesday, saying that the Home Office was the “only obstacle” in bringing them to the safety of the UK.

“It is deeply troubling that children from the charity Dnipro Kids have been caught up in Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine," Ms Patel said on Thursday.

“I have been working directly with the Ukrainian government and asked for their permission to bring these children to the UK.

“I am extremely grateful to the authorities in Ukraine, who have now confirmed to me that the children can come here.

“We are working urgently with Poland to ensure the children’s swift arrival to the UK."

Dnipro Kids, which was established by fans of Hibernian Football Club, took the children from its orphanage in Dnipro after the Russian invasion.

“I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve managed to achieve this breakthrough and that, all things being well, Scotland will welcome 48 Ukrainian children and their guardians to safety on Monday,” Mr Blackford said.

“While this process has been more difficult than it needed to be, all that matters now is that these children will be in a place of safety and I am pleased beyond words.

“I want to pay tribute to everyone who has worked hard to make this happen, including the Scottish charity Dnipro kids, the Ukrainian and Polish authorities, the Scottish government, Edinburgh City Council and all those who have helped to resolve issues at the Home Office.

“It’s essential that the UK government learns lessons and removes unnecessary barriers and delays to supporting displaced children and families.

“Not all children will be in the position of having guardians and adults to support them, and the Home Office must ensure there are safe, smooth and quick ways for them to access visas and reach safety.

"It’s far from clear to me how that can happen under the present system."

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “It is great news that the Dnipro Kids will soon be on their way to Scotland," said Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.

“We have all been moved by their story and I’m very glad the UK government was able to move so quickly to smooth their passage here.

“I’m very grateful to the Hibs fans’ Dnipro Kids charity and all others involved in getting the children out of Ukraine safely.

"Scotland has a proud history of supporting refugees, and I’m sure these young people will be made incredibly welcome when they get here.”

Updated: March 17, 2022, 9:55 PM