Scout leader helping Ukrainian refugees criticizes visa delays as ‘abhorrent’



A scout leader who took his group’s minibus to Ukraine’s border with Poland to help transport refugees to safety has described delays in issuing visas as “absolutely abhorrent”.

Adam Hale-Sutton, of Little Melton near Norwich, Norfolk, said he traveled to the border the week that the war in Ukraine started, initially to deliver aid.

The 43-year-old father of two boys, aged nine and 11, has taken a sabbatical from his job at restoration firm Belfor to volunteer.

He estimates that, with the help of other volunteers and charities, he has helped 73 Ukrainian families, who made their way to the Polish border village of Medyka, to get flights to Ireland

Mr Hale-Sutton said that last week Poland “took full control of all the borders” and is now using coaches to take refugees to Krakow or Warsaw where they can be processed.

He is currently at a holiday house in Dunkirk in France, where he has driven in a minibus with six Ukrainian refugees, three mothers with their sons, who all have sponsors in England.

They are awaiting visas before they can travel to the UK under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

Scout leader Adam Hale-Sutton (in baseball cap) is in Dunkirk with six Ukrainian refugees who are awaiting visas. LR Adam Hale-Sutton, 10-year-old Mykyta, his mother Viktoriya Lomakovska, 34, host Maxim, Larysa Bobor, 54, her 16-year-old son Bohdan, three-year-old Yan Dmytrykov and his mother Olha Miroshnyk, 37. (Adam Hale-Sutton/PA)

“We’re just waiting now for a green light to come home,” he said, adding that they had been in Dunkirk since Sunday.

He said visa applications for five of the six were made on April 5, with the sixth application finalized on Tuesday after the passport was renewed at the Ukrainian embassy in Brussels.

Mr Hale-Sutton described delays in getting UK visas as “abhorrent”.

“There’s no other word to describe it, absolutely abhorrent,” he said.

“It’s been made in a way that it appears the British don’t want Ukrainian people to come into the country.

“That’s how it feels and that’s the feeling of every single group member who’s come over from England to help me.

“Everyone’s devastated.

“We put so much effort in and we’re just continuously met with this ridiculous level of bureaucracy.”

The six refugees with Mr Hale-Sutton are Larysa Bobor, 54 and her 16-year-old son Bohdan, of Cherniviv in northern Ukraine, Viktoriya Lomakovska, 34, and her 10-year-old son Mykyta, from Kyiv, and Olha Miroshnyk , 37, and her three-year-old are Yan Dmytrykov, from the eastern Ukrainian town of Mariinka.

The scout leader said they all traveled to the Polish border on foot, arriving in late March where he met them.

“They walked, stopping in people’s houses that have been shelled, having to go and find another house that’s got a toilet in,” he said.

“It’s that bad.

“They’ve all walked.

“They may have hitched a lift at some points but there was no public transport per se so they walked.”

He continued: “The reason I’m out here is I’m a dad, I’ve got two boys, I’m a very emotional and passionate person.

“When I saw what was going on I’m one of these people who can’t sit still.

“I’m not a talker, I’m a doer.

“My wife was like, I was pacing the house, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, she just said ‘I can see what you want to do Adam, go’, so I did.”

He has raised funds through GoFundMe and has also put in some of his own money to help refugees to safety.

“It’s all been done with people with big hearts that care,” he said.

“I’m prepared to stay out here for as long as I’m needed.”

He said spirits of the six refugees with him are “pretty good”, adding: “Everyone just wants to get to the final destination.”


www.independent.co.uk

Related Posts

George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *