‘Fake Ukrainians’ impersonate refugees in a bid to pocket money from charity pedestrians

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced more than a million people to flee war in just one week

People on the streets of Brussels are posing as Ukrainian refugees, Politico reports.

These “fake Ukrainians” ask friendly pedestrians for €200.

It came as a furious war of words erupted between the Government and Labor over the UK’s treatment of people fleeing Ukraine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK will ‘of course’ welcome refugees and pledged to help people ‘fleeing in fear for their lives’.

A volunteer delivers food to people fleeing Ukraine at Berlin Central Station, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Berlin, Germany, March 3, 2022. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

The invasion of Russia forced more than a million people to flee the war in just one week, an exodus so rapid that it almost matches the number of people who sought refuge in Europe in an entire year during the migration crisis of 2015.

The arrival of around 1.3 million people sparked tensions between European partners as they quarreled over how many refugees and asylum seekers to accept, and bolstered far-right populists, some of whom were friends of the Kremlin.

But as Russian forces today inflict massive destruction on a neighboring country, Europeans have come together to reach out.

People offer accommodation to refugees arriving at Berlin Central Station, after Russia invaded Ukraine, in Berlin, Germany March 2, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

People offer accommodation to refugees arriving at Berlin Central Station, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Berlin, Germany, March 2, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Within a week, they accepted more than two percent of Ukraine’s 44 million people, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

Asked about the UK’s position on migration, Mr Johnson said: ‘Of course we will welcome refugees. This country has had a historic and proud role in taking refugees from all conflicts.

“And if you think about what we did in Afghanistan, for example, the UK was far ahead.

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“I am aware that there is fake news on the internet about this and I really want to hit it on the head.

“The UK is way ahead in our drive to help refugees.

“We have sent 1,000 soldiers to the theater, to be ready to help with the influx and of course we will help people who are fleeing in fear for their lives.”

Speaking during a visit to Birmingham, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer urged ministers to take a ‘humanitarian approach’ to people ‘fleeing for their lives’.

He continued: “We must help Ukrainians seeking safety. The government got it wrong. They apply the same rules as before.”

In response to Labour’s claims, Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: “Appalling misinformation at a time of international crisis. It is simply wrong.

Retweeting a clip of Mr Johnson talking about refugees, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “The Prime Minister is hitting the fake news pedaled by Labor bench MPs over the head.

“Appalling political expediency and disinformation in the midst of a crisis.”

A government spokesman said the priority was to support British nationals and their dependents residing in Ukraine who wanted to get out.

“We work around the clock to process visa applications and process many applications within hours,” the spokesperson said.

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