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UKRAINE

How to help Ukrainians in Paris and across France

A range of services are available for Ukrainian refugees in France - but more donations and volunteers are vital, and there is also an appeal for help from English-speakers in Paris.

How to help Ukrainians in Paris and across France
Ukrainian refugees arrive at Paris-Beauvais Airport. (Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt / AFP)

The city of Paris is working to offer a network of arrangements for Ukrainians arriving in the capital.

A first port of call should be the Ukraine Emergency Centre, at 39, rue des cheminots in the city’s 18th arrondissement. 

Run by France Terre d’Asile, a non-profit organisation that supports asylum seekers and advocates for asylum rights, staff at the centre will be able to assess the specific needs of refugees and their families and ensure they get the help and support they need.

A number of venues around the city are already welcoming Ukrainian refugees, and offering a range of personal, administrative, and legal support services.

In addition, nurseries and schools in Paris will be available to accommodate children of refugee families, and school canteens will serve food for free. Counselling and psychological support to children and their families will be available.

Travelling through France to the UK

Ukrainian refugees planning to travel through France to the UK as they flee the Russian invasion should travel to capital Paris, rather than ports like Calais.

The reason for this is the the UK government has refused to waive visa rules, and Ukrainians who try to travel to the UK without a valid visa will be turned back.

The process of getting a visa – which are only issued in certain circumstances, mostly to people who already have family in the UK – involves an in-person interview at the Visa Application Centre, which is in Paris.

READ ALSO EU countries agree to lift visa rules for Ukrainians fleeing war

The British Embassy told The Local: “Ukrainian nationals seeking to travel to the UK should call the Home Office on +44 300 3032785.

“The visa application process includes attending an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). The VAC in France is in Paris: details are given when the appointment is booked.”

How people across France can help Ukraine refugees

The Ministry of the Interior has set up a web page for individuals in France who want to help refugees. It offers advice for those who want to offer temporary accommodation, as well as other, equally valuable, aid to help Ukrainians who plan to stay in France for some time.

The Croix Rouge and the ACTED association are co-ordinating the donation of clothes and other items, while financial donations can be made to by sending cheques to:

Croix rouge française – conflit Ukraine 2022. 

Croix Rouge française CS 20011

59895 Lille Cedex 9

In Paris, mairies in all arrondissements will be open on Saturday to collect donations. The list of items that are urgently needed include: 

  • Hygiene products such as shower gel and shampoo;
  • Period products;
  • First aid material, such as plasters and bandages;
  • Dry foodstuffs including pasta, rice, packet soup, tea, instant coffee;

Check with the website of the arrondissement’s mairie for items that are specifically wanted.

READ ALSO How you can help Ukrainian media

Many Ukrainians have English, rather than French, as a second language. Any English-speakers in Paris willing and able to volunteer their time to help refugees should first contact Fabrique de la Solidarité.

The City of Paris has released exceptional emergency aid of €1 million to help associations in the capital organising the collection and delivery of food and basic necessities to Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

Premises have been made available for storage of donated products that are awaiting transport.

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POLICE

Man shot by police in Paris after ‘threatening officers’

A man has died after being shot four times by police in central Paris on Sunday evening.

Man shot by police in Paris after 'threatening officers'

Officers opened fire in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, close to Place de la République, on Sunday evening.

Two investigations have been opened – one by Paris police into the conduct of the victim and one by police watchdog the IGPN into the actions of the officers – and the two officers were detained for questioning.

Police sources told AFP that that man had been acting in a threatening way towards the officers. 

A police source said the man “doesn’t appear to have addressed any particular words to the police but was indeed threatening”.

French media reported that the man had a handgun and had first threatened a dog with the gun. No information has been released about the victim. 

The officers were released Monday afternoon without any charges being brought “at this point”, a source in the prosecutor’s office said, adding that the man’s gun was probably a fake.

Several people who witnessed the scene are also to be questioned by investigators.

Calls have been growing in France for checks on police use of deadly force, after 13 people who allegedly refused to obey officers’ orders were killed last year.

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