UK-bound Ukraine orphans stuck in Poland awaiting paperwork

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Dozens of Ukrainian orphans and their carers who are headed to refuge in the UK were stuck Tuesday in Poland due to missing paperwork from Ukraine.

The nearly 50 youngsters from orphanages in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro were due to fly to London on Monday before traveling on to Scotland.

Instead they are waiting in a luxury hotel, which stepped in to give them free accommodation, until the bureaucratic holdup could be dealt with.

Their journey has been organized by a Scottish charity called Dnipro Kids, which was set up in 2005 by supporters of Hibernian Football Club in the Scottish capital Edinburgh.

The effort to offer them temporary refugee until the war is over has the support of the British government.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said last week that British authorities were working with Poland and Ukraine “to ensure the children’s swift arrival to the UK.”

Duncan MacRae, the media manager at Dnipro Kids charity, said the children were first evacuated by train from Dnipro to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. They were then put on a bus and taken to Poland, where they stayed for the past two weeks.

Sally Becker, executive director of the foundation Save a Child, which is helping with the evacuation, said the delay was due to a document that hadn’t been provided by Ukrainian authorities, and emerged just as the group was on the way to the airport.

“And we just waited and waited and hoped. And then in the end, we were told that the plane had to be cancelled because (the flight crew) … couldn’t land without this piece of paper from the Ukrainian authorities confirming it was OK to fly the children out,” Becker said.

She said the group includes several small groups who have guardians with parental rights who have been caring for the children for years.

“All we want to do is give them safe, temporary sanctuary in Britain until the war is over and it’s safe for them to go home,” she said.

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