Young Thug has offered to help African immigrants who are currently trapped in Ukraine.
Ukraine officially severed diplomatic ties with Russia and declared martial law after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an attack on the neighbouring nation last week (February 24). Many Ukrainians are now trying to escape the war zone as the fighting continues.
There have also been numerous media reports of African immigrants struggling to get across borders and out of Ukraine due to a “Ukrainians first” policy. Many of those struggling to escape are African students who went to study in Ukraine for its affordable education.
Young Thug shared his support for those African refugees trapped in Ukraine on his Instagram Stories yesterday (February 27), writing: “If some of my rap brothers are in I’m willing to help Africans get out of Ukraine however I can sense they not letting us pass.
“Whoever holds the info for these movements please contact me ASAP I’m ready.”
The UK received fierce criticism over the weekend (February 25-26) after it was revealed that it had failed to set up a direct refugee route for Ukrainians seeking asylum.
The UK stopped accepting visa applications from Ukrainians stuck in the country, meaning there was no safe nor legal route for them to find asylum in the UK unless they have British relatives (via The Independent). Even this comes with strict rules, with many close family members being prohibited under the rule.
“Brothers and sisters, the parents of people over 18, and children who have reached the age of 18 are among those not included in the ‘concessions’ for family migration visas”, according to The Independent.
The Independent Rescue Committee has urged countries to support the refugee crisis publicly. Senior representative and former French minister Harlem Desir told The Independent: “This should not be looked at as another migration crisis. This is a crisis of war. It should not be business as usual, we need real support from the Ukrainian people.”
On the Home Office website, a post reads: “Ukrainian nationals in Ukraine (who aren’t immediate family members of British nationals normally living in the Ukraine, or where the British national is living in the UK), are currently unable to make visa applications to visit, work, study or join family in the UK.”
It went on to add that the UK visa application centre in Kyiv is now closed, and related services in the capital were also suspended. Dependents of British nationals can now only apply for a visa if they reach similar services in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Moldova.
Despite offers of help from other countries relating to resettlement, the UK has not offered anything similar, with Priti Patel only announcing visa extensions for Ukrainians already in the UK.
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “In terms of refugees, obviously it’s relatively early time at the moment. But we have provided support already to help at the border should we start to see a humanitarian crisis emerge, and obviously we are ready to deploy that.”
The move prompted criticism from the likes of Enter Shikari over the weekend. Sharing a news article about the situation, frontman Rou Reynolds wrote: “The government is making it very difficult for Ukrainian refugees to take safe haven here in the UK, but it has always been glad to take Russian money & allow Russian oligarchs to buy British citizenship.”
He continued: “Support the wealthy[,] abandon the struggling” before adding “Tories are consistent at least.”
Late on Sunday (February 27), an update from Ukraine’s interior ministry said 352 Ukrainian civilians had been killed in the conflict so far, including 14 children. They said a further 1684 people, including 116 children, had been wounded (via The Guardian).
Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks spoke out to say that her “heart was broken” over the situation and compared Putin to Hitler, Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos paid tribute to the “open and welcoming” people of Kyiv, and Foals honoured the Ukrainian crew of their recent ‘2am’ video. Miley Cyrus, Yungblud and Elton John were among the other artists to issue statements of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Ukraine, which has a population of 44million people, borders both Russia and the European Union. As the BBC reports, Russia has long resisted Ukraine’s move towards embracing European institutions like NATO and the EU.
Putin is now demanding guarantees from the West and Ukraine that it will not join NATO, a defensive alliance of 30 countries, and that Ukraine demilitarise and become a neutral state.