SCOTLAND’S First Minister has hit out at the Home Office following reports of Ukrainians being refused entry to the UK via France due to lack of visas.

Wilson Solicitors, a London-based firm specialising in immigration and human rights, said on Twitter on Saturday night that they were aware of Ukrainians being stopped at Paris Gare du Nord while trying to get to family members in the UK following the Russian invasion.

“Sorry to report that @ukhomeoffice is refusing entry to Ukrainians at Paris Gare du Nord seeking to join family in UK because they don’t have a visa,” the lawyers alleged. “And not being helped to apply for a visa. If there even is one.”

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Tens of thousands of people have so far signed a petition urging the UK Government to open safe and legal routes to the UK for Ukrainians fleeing the largest ground offensive since the Second World War.

At present the Westminster government is not accepting visa applications from Ukrainian citizens stuck in the country. There are effectively no safe and legal routes for Ukrainians to get to the UK unless they already have relatives here.

Responding to the allegation from Wilson Solicitors, Nicola Sturgeon said “we can do so much better than this”.

The National:

She urged Home Secretary Priti Patel: “Please lift visa requirements immediately @ukhomeoffice so that we can reunite families and offer refuge to as many Ukrainians as possible. @scotgov stands ready to help and play our full part in resettlement effort.”

Her plea followed a similar call from SNP shadow home secretary Stuart McDonald.

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"I urge the UK government to bring forward a serious humanitarian response plan including safe legal routes to the UK,” he said on Saturday. “This must include much broader rights for Ukrainian nationals to join both British and Ukrainian family members who are already here in the UK – rather than expecting them to seek asylum in Poland, away from their families.

“And it must also make clear we are willing and prepared to take Ukrainian refugees here as part of the Global Resettlement Scheme, if that is advised by UNHCR and requested by our European allies.”

Nearly 60,000 people have signed the petition to Home Secretary Patel as of Saturday night.