‘A new low’ – Labor denounces comparison between Ukrainian refugees and Albanian drug traffickers

Labor said the Tories hit a ‘new low’ today after government sources compared Ukrainian refugees to drug cartels.

Ministers have apparently raised concerns that Ireland’s open door policy for Ukrainian refugees creates a security risk to the UK, according to The Telegraph.

Dublin has joined a European program which allows people fleeing Ukraine to settle without a visa for three years.

However, the UK has a stricter entry process which requires all Ukrainian applicants to apply for an official visa and submit biometrics for security checks.

A lady wrapped in a blanket and using her phone while waiting for the train back to Ukraine at Przemysl station.

SOPA Images via Getty Images

A British government source told the newspaper that Ireland had “essentially opened the door” to everyone in Ukraine, creating a problem because of the common travel area.

“We have already seen migrants from Albania passing through Dublin, Belfast and across the continent to Liverpool. It created a drug cartel route,” they said.

Shadow Labor Minister for Immigration Stephen Kinnock hit back, describing it as a “new low” for the Conservative Party.

He tweeted: “Tory ministers are now comparing Ukrainian women and children fleeing the horrors of war to Albanian drug traffickers. This is a new low, even for The Nasty Party.

SNP’s Pete Wishart added: “So the UK is chastising countries that are doing their part to help the refugee crisis because they don’t want people to come here.”

It comes as the Interior Ministry struggles to explain its chaotic response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

People arrive at West station from Zahony after crossing the border at Zahony-Csap while fleeing Ukraine on March 7, 2022 in Budapest, Hungary.
People arrive at West station from Zahony after crossing the border at Zahony-Csap while fleeing Ukraine on March 7, 2022 in Budapest, Hungary.

Janos Kummer via Getty Images

European leaders are bracing for an influx of Ukrainian refugees three times the number of Syrian refugees in 2015.

More than 1.7 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion, but only 300 Ukrainians have so far been granted visas to come to Britain.

By comparison, Poland has taken in almost 800,000 Ukrainian refugees and Germany around 30,000, according to reports.

Home Secretary Priti Patel was yesterday forced to deny suggestions the UK was not supporting Ukrainian refugees in Calais and telling them to go to Paris or Brussels to apply for visas.

Meanwhile, the Disaster Emergency Committee has warned that the conflict puts women and girls at increased risk of sexual and physical violence.

Large numbers of women, children and young people arrive at Ukraine’s borders with Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova with only what they can carry.

HuffPost UK has contacted the Home Office for comment.

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