It is reported 150 Ukrainians were turned away at Calais earlier this week. They were told to obtain visas at UK consulates in Paris or Brussels instead.
In a thrashing letter sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, quoted in the Independent, accused Britain of “lacking humanity”.
He insisted London must set up a consular presence in Calais to make the process of movement more smooth.
Mr Darmanin said the UK’s response was a “completely unsuitable” manner in which to treat those “in distress”.
He added: “It is imperative that your consular representation, exceptionally and for the duration of this crisis, is able to issue visas for family reunification on the spot in Calais.”
Relations between the French Interior Minister and his British counterpart have long been frosty, owing particularly to the Channel migrant crisis.
Mr Darmanin alluded to this in his message to Ms Patel.
He said: “Our coasts have been the scene of too many human tragedies.
“Let’s not add to that those Ukrainian families.”
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These were most likely from eastern areas of Ukraine which are more closely aligned with Russia.
Responding to the accusation its actions “lacked humanity”, a Government spokesperson said: “The UK is focused on doing everything possible to help those fleeing the war in Ukraine, with an unprecedented scheme to quickly help tens of thousands of people from Ukraine to reunite with their families in the UK.
“Many have already successfully applied.
“Staff have been surged across Europe to support people in coming to the UK and all visa application centres remain open with thousands of appointments available to carry out essential security checks, and a dedicated helpline has been set up.
“The Ukrainian Family Scheme is already working and unlimited sponsorship route will be opening for Ukrainians without family ties in the UK so community groups, local authorities and others can sponsor and support those in need to come to the UK.”