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UK Government Wants To House Homeless Ukrainian Refugees In Homes of Sanctioned Russian Oligarchs

Rachel Lang

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| Last updated 

UK Government Wants To House Homeless Ukrainian Refugees In Homes of Sanctioned Russian Oligarchs

Featured Image Credit: ALEXANDROS MICHAILIDIS/Alamy Stock Photo

The UK government is looking into how they can turn the luxurious homes of Russian oligarchs into emergency housing for Ukrainian refugees.

Housing Minister Michael Gove unveiled the idea on the BBC's Sunday Morning programme, in a move that is sure to add insult to injury for the mega-rich Russians who have had their assets seized.

"I want to explore an option which would allow us to use the homes and properties of sanctioned individuals - as long as they are sanctioned - for humanitarian and other purposes," Gove said.

Housing secretary Michael Gove after his BBC interview. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo
Housing secretary Michael Gove after his BBC interview. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo

"There's quite a high legal bar to cross and we're not talking about permanent confiscation.

"But we are saying: 'you're sanctioned, you're supporting Putin, this home is here, you have no right to use or profit from it - and more than that, while you are not using or profiting from it, if we can use it in order to help others, let's do that'."

More than two million people have fled Ukraine following the Russian invasion, and some predict Britain and the EU may have to welcome up to 15 million refugees if Russian President Vladimir Putin pushes on with the assault.

The United Nations has described those fleeing Ukraine as the fastest-growing refugee crisis since WWII. 

But, while Gove tests the legal waters for his oligarch housing scheme, there is another option for Ukrainian refugees.

From next week, the British public will be able to apply to a wider sponsorship scheme to house refugees with no family ties to the UK. 

Oxana (l) and Maria, as well as their children, are fleeing from the village of Shklo near Yavoriv, stand at the Budomierz border crossing between Ukraine and Poland. Credit: Sebastian Gollnow/dpa/Alamy Live News
Oxana (l) and Maria, as well as their children, are fleeing from the village of Shklo near Yavoriv, stand at the Budomierz border crossing between Ukraine and Poland. Credit: Sebastian Gollnow/dpa/Alamy Live News

Brits offering to house Ukrainians fleeing their torn country will now receive a monthly cash incentive of £350 (AUD $627) in a system that will kick off next week.

The new program comes in the wake of a barrage of criticism levelled at Home Secretary Priti Patel over her handling of the Ukrainian refugee crisis, with fewer than 1,000 visas granted to Ukrainians wanting to enter the UK. 

Critics have branded the UK's response to the crisis as being slow and ineffective when compared to other nations who have taken in hundreds of thousands of people.

The Home Office initially only granted visas to refugees with family in the UK, and even then the process has been described as ​​slow and restrictive. 

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.

Topics: UK News, Russia, Ukraine, Politics

Rachel Lang
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