GREEN councillors have criticised the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme after a refugee was reportedly left homeless when her host began demanding money.

The Ukrainian woman, who fled her home in Dnipro due to the ongoing war, was welcomed to Brighton - but says her host started demanding money from her to pay utility bills.

Speaking to The Guardian, the refugee - who did not want to be named, said: “I felt so upset I thought it would have been better for me to stay at home in Ukraine so that I wouldn’t experience anything like this.”

Green councillors on Brighton and Hove City Council said the scheme has few safeguards in place and raised concerns that there is no mechanism for finding replacement hosts.

They have called on the government to make changes to the scheme and welcome Ukrainian refugees with open arms.

Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty expressed alarm over the “mismanagement” of the scheme by the Home Office.

He said: “Just days ago, a government whistleblower was in the press stating that the scheme appears ‘designed to fail’.

“Our early evidence in Brighton and Hove is that this is sadly the case.

“Despite the crocodile tears from ministers, who claim compassion for the plight of refugees from conflict, it is still very hard for Ukraine’s refugees to find a safe home in the UK and this speaks to the continuation of the ‘hostile environment’ the Home Office has for all refugees.

“The Green Party still argues for visa-free access to the UK for Ukraine’s refugees.”

A total of 212 visas have been granted in Brighton and Hove through the Homes for Ukraine scheme since it opened last month.

There are concerns that the conflict in Ukraine could spill over into neighbouring Moldova, after explosions rocked the pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria for a second day, knocking out two radio antennas.

While no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, Ukrainian officials have all but blamed Russia.

Russia has announced it will shut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, in a move that EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described as an attempt at “blackmail”.