Russian propagandist media are making false claims about British attitudes to Ukrainian refugees based on a poll conducted by the British Office of National Statistics. The Homes for Ukraine program conducted a survey to assess how long current sponsors wanted the hosting arrangement with Ukrainian refugees to last. 24% of respondents said they were ready to help with housing for more than six months, but not for longer than a year. 23% said they were ready to help for longer than a year. There was no mention of any expulsion of Ukrainians from Britain in the survey.

Russian media are busy disseminating another fake about Ukrainian refugees, claiming that the UK has already determined when they should be “expelled” from Britain. This claim is based on a survey conducted by the British Office of National Statistics.

No one in Europe wants Ukrainian refugees, host countries are tired of Ukrainians, Ukrainian refugees are outstaying their welcome – these are some of the themes of Russia’s propagandist narrative about Ukrainian refugees being actively propagated. Spreading such fakes, Russian media use emotionally loaded language, claiming countries want to “expel, drive out and get rid” of Ukrainians.

There is absolutely no language about an imminent “expulsion” of Ukrainians from the UK Homes for Ukraine survey. Russian propagandists once again gleaned a small amount of data from a much larger poll and presented it as their own warped conclusion.

The British Office of National Statistics surveyed 17,702 Britons who are registered in the Homes for Ukraine program through which British sponsors provide accommodation for Ukrainian refugees. The July 7-14 survey was conducted online, 41% of the program participants responded to the questionnaire. The overall goal of the survey was to compile a general portrait of those who are participating in the program and determine for how long they are ready to provide housing for Ukrainian refugees.

“Current sponsors were asked how long they wanted the existing hosting arrangements to last. There was variation in responses. Almost one in five (19%) intended to provide accommodation for six months (the minimum length of time for which sponsors were asked to offer accommodation under the scheme) …. Just under one-quarter (23%) intended to provide accommodation for longer than 12 months,” the survey found.

In addition, when asked what would encourage them to host Ukrainian refugees beyond 12 months, the survey found that the majority -70% – said continued £350 monthly payments would encourage them to continue hosting for longer than 12 months. 

Russian media also manipulatively emphasize that British participants in the program do not want to continue hosting Ukrainian refugees because of the rising cost of living, and because in addition to providing housing, they are “forced” to provided additional types of assistance.

According to the survey, when asked what originally encouraged them to apply for the hosting program, a minority (10%) of all sponsors selected the £350 monthly payments as a motivation. However, “the most reported motivation for applying, by 94% of sponsors, was to help people fleeing a war zone. Around half of sponsors (51%) were motivated by having the space in their house to meet this need” the survey found. Russian media, however, chose to ignore these important details.

British agencies dealing with Ukrainian refugees say they are working on new ways of how to encourage sponsors to host Ukrainian refugees for as long as necessary.

On July 28 the UK government announced that 100,000 Ukrainians had arrived in Britain under the Ukraine Family and Homes for Ukraine programs.

” We understand families are having to make difficult decisions to leave their homes – which is why it is important we took the time to get this right to ensure we can continue offering safety to as many Ukrainians as possible,” said UK Refugees Minister Lord Harrington.