The Russian invasion of Ukraine has already led to more than one million refugees fleeing their home country. Many EU nations have fast-tracked their visa processes to allow quick entry, and now some companies are doing their bit, too.
Eurostar, the cross-Channel train operator, is offering free travel to Ukrainians entering the UK from Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. The firm said that all those with a valid UK visa should speak to a member of Eurostar staff at Paris Nord, Brussels-Midi, Lille Europe or Amsterdam Central stations to receive their free ticket.
Rail companies in Poland, Germany, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Denmark and France have also launched similar schemes for those fleeing the conflict. And low-cost airline Wizz Air has offered 100,000 free seats on flights across continental Europe departing from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia or Romania in March.
The UK government hasn’t followed the EU’s lead in most likely waiving limits to visa-free access indefinitely, instead announcing temporary concessions that allow elderly parents, grandparents, adult children and siblings of UK-based Ukrainian nationals to enter the country. Ministers have claimed that this could allow in up to 200,000 refugees, initially for 12 months. But that number pales in significance to 550,000 refugees who have already fled to Poland. As ever, it seems some countries are being more generous than others when it comes to supporting those in real need and danger.
Want to do your bit to help? Here are 17 ways you can support the people of Ukraine right now.