With two million displaced by the war, people scrambling to find safety are being met with callous immigration systems and racism at the border.
It’s been almost three weeks since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. The world has watched in horror as hundreds of thousands of Russian troops have poured across the border and started their slow advance across the country. The indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilian areas in cities such as Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson and Mauripol have been broadcast on a loop, with images of bombed-out apartments, hospitals, kindergartens and playgrounds splashed across front pages. We’ve watched live streams of Russian forces attacking Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant and the bombing of Ukraine’s civilian and military infrastructure.
The scale of the humanitarian crisis unfolding is hard to fathom. Each horrendous image, harrowing news report or lacklustre policy announcement represents the stories of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. That’s why today we’re launching Search for Sanctuary – a new series looking at some of those stories and the people behind them.
As part of the series, we’ll hear first hand from those caught up in the UK’s draconian immigration system as they attempt to flee, and helping family members escape Ukraine. We’ll meet the people who have made the treacherous, dangerous journey across the border, only to face violent attacks from far-right racists. We’ll explore the realities of humanitarian intervention and look at how the UK government is preventing people from reaching safety.
Read the first piece in the series, in which a Ukrainian living in London shares her battle with the Home Office, who are currently preventing her two younger sisters – aged eight and 19 – from entering the UK, here.