Ukrainian orphans stuck in Poland after flight to London delayed due to paperwork

A group of Ukrainian orphans who were supposed to fly to the UK after fleeing war in their home country are stuck in Poland after an important piece of paperwork was not provided in time.

The 52 young travelers, ranging in age from one to 18, and their caretakers were due to fly from Warsaw to London on Monday, before traveling to Scotland later in the week.

However, before the plane left Heathrow Airport, a form that should have been sent by the Ukrainian government to the Polish Ministry of Family and Social Policy to release the group was not sent in time.

It is now said that the Virgin flight will not take place before Wednesday, while organizers are looking at alternative options.

The children and their carers are now waiting in a hotel for the next flight.

The interior ministry said there were delays due to difficulties in authorizing the backgrounds of the children, who have no relatives to act on their behalf.

It came after Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on Thursday that the young people, who are being looked after by Scottish charity Dnipro Kids, founded by supporters of Edinburgh’s Hibernian Football Club, have been given the green light to travel to Britain.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who was due to join the flight, told the PA news agency: “We have been racing against time to get the paperwork signed off in place and there has been a delay on that .

“So for now it means nothing is going to happen today.

“I think the most important thing is that many people will determine that everything is done to support the orphans who are currently in Poland.

“That has always been the first and last concern of all of this, so we will continue to work with everyone to make sure arrangements can be made to give the children that sanctuary in Scotland.”

It is not known how many of the group of unaccompanied minors are orphans, as while they are in the Ukrainian healthcare system, some may still have one or both parents alive.

The group also includes children of the supervisors who travel with the group.

They would travel to Scotland by train after arriving in the UK.

Dnipro Kids was founded in 2005 after football fans visited local orphanages when Hibernian played against the Ukrainian team Dnipro FC.

The youngsters were due to spend sightseeing in London on Tuesday, before heading to rural Stirlingshire on Wednesday.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said: “It is deeply disturbing that these children are involved in (Vladimir) Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

“It is correct that we do not move these children until we have full written approval from their home and host governments.

“The Home Secretary and her colleagues in the Ukrainian, Polish and Scottish governments are united in their determination to ensure these children receive the support and care they need.”

A statement from Project Light, the operation to transport the children to the UK, said: “The 52 children and seven adults are currently being accommodated in a hotel in Poland and are safe and sound.

“The last paperwork needed by the Polish Ministry of Families did not arrive in time for the flight to depart today.

“All parties involved in this mission are working hard to bring them to the UK in the coming days.”

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