Ukraine: Andrew Marr slams UK's 'tin ear' over refugee crisis
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Andrew Marr spoke to Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley on Good Morning Britain about the situation in Ukraine and the UK Government’s handling of the refugee crisis. Mr Marr told the show he had a great love of Russian poetry and culture before discussing his interactions with Putin – branding him one of the most intelligent men he has ever come across. But Mr Marr was angry at the Home Office and accused them of having a “tin ear” as they revealed only 50 out of over 13,000 visa applications have been processed while Poland and other European nations have taken in hundreds of thousands.
Presenter Richard Madeley asked Mr Marr for his reaction surrounding the “speed” in which things were moving in Ukraine.
He said: “As we were saying earlier, people in Kyiv and around Ukraine were taking their children to nursery going to work, not having to queue for petrol just basically living the kind of lives that we live here.
“And now we are where we are, are you as astonished at the speed with which the situation has evolved?”
Mr Marr replied: “I am, and I’m also, I think, as angry as both of you seem to be about the lack of generosity and openness when we’re bringing people into this country refugees.
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“All across Britain, people are raising money, they’re collecting food, they’re collecting clothing to send to the Ukrainians.
“There’s a real sense of we stand with Ukrainians, we want to help and welcome Ukrainians.
“That is the kind of people we are in this country and to have such a meagre, infuriating visa system at this stage…
“It seems to me that the Foreign Office and the Home Office have got a complete tin ear for the mood of the country and they really have to get a grip of this very, very soon indeed.”
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Mr Marr also discussed his meeting with Putin back in 2014 where he quizzed the Russian leader about Scottish independence.
Putin distanced himself from the question but said there were strengths in keeping together a strong union of countries.
Mr Marr also shared an anecdote involving Elton John where the singer told him to give Putin “a kiss from me” following the controversy surrounding homophobia and Russia at the time.
The former BBC journalist also mentioned Putin’s “cold stare” and how intimidating he was.
The UK has come under fire for not doing enough to help Ukrainian refugees after the Home Office revealed only 50 visa applications have been processed so far.
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It comes off the back of the Government being accused of having a visa system that is too strict as Ukrainians could only come to the UK if they had close family there.
The criteria have now been extended following backlash with Prime Minister Boris Johnson stating more than 200,000 Ukrainians will now be eligible.
Europe Minister James Cleverly defended the Government during his media round and explained they were sending support to neighbouring countries to help the situation there.
He added the approved visa applications would naturally grow over time as the Home Office processes them.
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