PRITI Patel squirmed under pressure while apologising for the “frustrating” time taken to accept Ukrainian refugees into the UK.

Speaking with the BBC in a pre-recorded interview which aired on Friday, she denied that visa requirements and checks are slowing the process and causing delays.

The Home Secretary said she apologised "with frustration myself” and that “it takes time to start up a new route”.

She added that it was “always easy to blame someone else” but security checks “are not the problem” when it comes to the time it is taking for Ukrainian refugees to reach the UK.

Patel said: “They’re not seeing delays, we are processing, and as I’ve said as well I’m streamlining processes, I streamlined the family scheme in less than a week, and we simplified that and we changed the way certain checks are done.

“Also I’m working to automate where we can.”

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Around 12,000 people had arrived in the UK under Ukraine visa schemes as of Tuesday, according to Home Office figures.

Some 10,800 people had arrived under the Ukraine family scheme and 1200 under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme, provisional data published on the department’s website shows.

However, Germany, which has dropped visa restrictions as part of the EU-wide scheme to support those fleeing the Russian invasion, has registered around 316,000 refugees. When the comparison between the two countries was put to Patel she said the situations were not “like for like”. She added that the UK will “absolutely see changes in numbers” going forward.

She told the BBC: “We are an independent third country and we want to give people the status and security of coming to our country along with the warm welcome.

“Yes, we want to welcome people, we are welcoming people – over 40,000 visas being granted, over 10,000 people over a space of five weeks coming to the United Kingdom.

“We have to ensure that they are protected and safeguarded in the United Kingdom as well.”

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Meanwhile, The Refugee Council has accused the Government of “choosing control over compassion” in light of the recently published figures.

Chief executive Enver Solomon said people who are prepared to open up their homes have been left feeling “angry and frustrated that their gesture of support has been lost into a web of bureaucracy and chaos”.

He said the Government must waive visas as an immediate short-term measure and then introduce a “simplified emergency humanitarian visa process”.

He said: “These numbers confirm we have a Government, yet again, choosing control over compassion when it comes to granting refugees protection and one that appears to be totally out of step, not only with the British public but the rest of Europe who have opened their doors to welcome Ukrainian families in desperate need.

“It’s clear that the visa schemes which were supposedly designed to ensure the safety of Ukrainians fleeing war and bloodshed are unfit for purpose.”