Boris Johnson unveils six-point plan to help Ukraine amid criticism of UK help for refugees

Six-point ‘plan of action’ will also include more weapons, fresh economic pressure on Russia and strengthening of west’s security

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Monday 07 March 2022 14:22 GMT
Ukraine-Russia: Anti-war protestors fill Trafalgar Square in London

Boris Johnson will shrug off criticism of the UK offer to refugees from Ukraine by calling for an “international humanitarian coalition” to step up help for the country.

A six-point “plan of action” must also include delivering more weapons, fresh economic pressure on Vladimir Putin’s regime and wider strengthening of the west’s security, the prime minister will say.

In meetings with other world leaders, Mr Johnson will also warn against the “creeping normalisation” of Russia’s brutal actions as it pursues its invasion of Ukraine.

Diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the crisis should be pursued, but only on the basis of full participation by “the legitimate government of Ukraine”, he will say.

The plan will be set out when Mr Johnson welcomes the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, to Downing Street on Monday.

The following day, he will host the leaders of the “V4” group of central European nations – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – at the heart of the humanitarian crisis engulfing Europe.

The government has been criticised for refusing to waive visa rules to allow fleeing refugees to come to the UK, although it is allowing family members to join Ukrainians already in this country.

In contrast, the EU – confronted with one million refugees little more than a week after the invasion – has offered asylum to all Ukrainians for three years.

Nevertheless, Downing Street said the first point of Mr Johnson’s six-point plan would be to “mobilise an international humanitarian coalition for Ukraine”.

The UK has increased its aid to Ukraine and the region to £220m, No 10 says, and is continuing to supply defensive and lethal weaponry to the country.

The prime minister is setting out his plan after a planned mass evacuation of civilians from Mariupol was aborted, after Russia continued shelling the key southern city.

Ukraine accused Moscow of breaching a ceasefire designed to allow thousands of people to leave – with civilians also been unable to escape the nearby city of Volnovakha.

Protests broke out in Kherson on Saturday, the only big city to have been captured by Russian forces so far.

Meanwhile, Putin warned the west that he would regard any no-fly zone over Ukraine as an act of war, after Ukraine’s president condemned Nato for ruling out the move.

Mr Johnson will say, in an essay in The New York Times: “Putin must fail and must be seen to fail in this act of aggression.

“It is not enough to express our support for the rules-based international order – we must defend it against a sustained attempt to rewrite the rules by military force.

“The world is watching. It is not future historians but the people of Ukraine who will be our judge.”

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in