London: The UK government has airlifted 21 Ukrainian children from the conflict zone with Russia for lifesaving cancer treatment by experts at different hospitals across England.

The 21 children and their immediate family members arrived in England from Poland on Sunday evening and will be assessed by National Health Service (NHS) medics to understand their health needs before being sent to NHS hospitals to continue their care.

The government said the vital and, in many cases, lifesaving cancer treatment will be provided free of charge by the NHS.

The sickening suffering of innocent civilians in Ukraine is truly horrific. This vital lifesaving medical care is another important step in our support for the people of Ukraine and their resistance against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s illegal invasion, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

I am hugely grateful to our fantastic NHS staff as well as our partners, including our Polish friends, for their support in bringing these children to the UK and we will continue to do all we can to support them as they continue their critical treatment here, he said.

Hospitals in Poland have taken in many children needing healthcare who have arrived from Ukraine, fleeing the war with Russia.

With more children crossing the border requiring immediate treatment, the UK said it has responded to Poland’s call for support from international partners to provide additional care.

I am appalled by the atrocities we’ve seen in Ukraine and the despicable attacks being carried out on innocent civilians, said UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

I am proud that the UK is offering lifesaving medical care to these Ukrainian children, who have been forced out of their home country by the Russian invasion while undergoing medical treatment. I know that the incredible staff in the NHS will ensure they get the best possible care, he said.

The UK government says it has sent seven aircraft to the region to deliver more than 650,000 medical items, including wound care packs, equipment for intensive care and vital medicines.

Russia’s assault on the innocent people of Ukraine is reprehensible and barbaric. Working with our partners in the region we continue to be at the forefront of the joint humanitarian effort to provide the best medical care and support for these children and their families, said UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.

The UK says it has pledged approximately GBP 400 million in humanitarian aid and funds to bolster the Ukrainian economy and reduce the country’s reliance on Russian gas.

It has also been providing defensive military aid to Ukraine, which has been battling with Russian forces since last month, and has also imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Russian businesses, banks and individuals.

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