UK could take in over 200,000 Ukrainian refugees, says Johnson

Poland has estimated that about 350,000 people have crossed its border from Ukraine since last Thursday, while the European Union has emphasized the need to prepare for millions of refugees entering.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, January 12, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/HENRY NICHOLLS)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, January 12, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/HENRY NICHOLLS)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Tuesday about the growing humanitarian crisis from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying refugee numbers could run into the millions as he offered to take 200,000 of them into Britain.

"We will make it easier for Ukrainians already living in the UK to bring their relatives to our country. Though the numbers are hard to calculate, there could be more than 200,000," Johnson said in Warsaw.

The reunion criteria for Ukrainians is being widened to allow people living in Britain to bring parents, siblings, adult sons and daughters and grandparents, Johnson’s spokesman told reporters.

Less than a week after Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, western leaders are looking at ways to help the hundreds of Ukrainians who have left their homeland.

Poland has estimated that about 350,000 people have crossed its border from Ukraine since last Thursday, while the European Union has emphasized the need to prepare for millions of refugees entering the bloc.

 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City (credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ/POOL) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City (credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ/POOL)

"When I spoke to (US) President (Joe) Biden last night, we focussed on the humanitarian emergency that is now beginning. (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's invasion has already cost hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, and we must prepare for an even larger outflow, perhaps in the millions," Johnson added.

He also pledged up to 220 million pounds ($294.69 million) in emergency and humanitarian aid for Ukraine and said Britain has 1,000 troops on standby to help the humanitarian response in neighboring countries, including Poland.