Ukrainians who have managed to secure a visa to come to the UK will also be able to bring their pets under a “streamlined process”, the government has announced.
Nearly 89,000 households have now signed up to provide a home for Ukrainian refugees under the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme which launched on Monday.
Around 4,000 visas have already been issued under the separate programme which allows some Ukrainians to come to the UK if they have family in Britain.
The government has been sharply criticised by Labour, as well as many Tory MPs, for not moving faster to welcome more refugees into the country.
Lord Goldsmith, the animal welfare minister, said on Tuesday emergency support would also make it easier for the refugees to bring their dogs, cats and other pets.
“As part of our new streamlined process, any animals which have already received some treatment may also have their stay in quarantine reduced and be returned back to their owner as soon as possible,” he said.
The government will also be covering vaccination, microchipping and quarantine costs of the pets.
According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the maximum stay in quarantine for a pet which has received no rabies vaccination is four months.
The department added that pets would be considered on “a case by case basis”, with a shortened quarantine period for those that are vaccinated
The government added that given the limited quarantine capacity, priority would be given to pets over animals being brought in for other reasons.
It comes as Russian forces edged closer to the centre of Kyiv, with the Ukrainian capital
Russia’s relentless bombardment of Ukraine has edged closer to Kyiv, with authorities there saying artillery strikes had hit several buildings near the centre of the capital.