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Sandi Toksvig leads call to British government to welcome more Ukrainian refugees

The Extraordinary Escapes star penned a powerful message

sandi toksvig
Jenni McKnight
Jenni McKnightUS Lifestyle Editor
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Sandi Toksvig has urged the British government to change its visa system so more Ukrainian refugees can be welcomed into the UK.

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The Extraordinary Escapes star was joined by a host of UK comedians in a video message posted on social media on Friday, in which they called for Ukrainian people who have fled their war-torn country following Russia's invasion to be welcomed into the UK "with open arms".

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UK comedians are urging the government to change its visa system

Alongside the campaign hashtag, "#withopenarms", Sandi captioned the clip on Twitter: "Since Russia's invasion, 22,000 Ukrainians have applied for UK visas, but just over 1,000 have been issued.

"I am ready to house a Ukrainian family, as are many British people. We want to help, but we need the UK government to take action now, and welcome refugees with open arms."

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The video begins with Sandi saying: "You won't have missed the irony that at the heart of the most serious event in the world today is a comedian. Volodymyr Zelensky. His courage, integrity, and grace under fire in this horrific situation should make our own government feel ashamed.

sandi toksvig© Photo: Getty Images

Sandi joined forces with UK comedians

"So we British comedians say to them: have you no decency? Let Ukraine's refugees into the UK now – with open arms."

The video then cuts to a host of comedians who each repeat, "with open arms". They include Aisling Bea, Stephen Fry, Miranda Hart, Ruby Wax, Miriam Margolyes, Graham Norton and many more.

The powerful video ends with the message: "2.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes in the Ukraine. At the time of recording, the UK has taken a little over 1,000.

"We urge the government to take faster, more decisive action and welcome refugees #withopenarms."

If you want to help the people of Ukraine amid the escalating Russian conflict, these are the charities in urgent need of donations: British Red Cross, International Medical Corps, UNICEF and CARE.