Ukraine’s neighboring countries prepare to receive Ukrainian refugees

The sounds of emergency sirens this morning woke up Ukraine after Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation”, starting a war. From now on many people will need to find shelter. Poland, Romania, Hungary or Moldova They have been preparing for the current escalation of tension for days. The European Union also foresees the reactivation of new migratory routes and large numbers of victims and displaced persons.

The European Commission stands ready to support Member States in their preparation for reception while the situation evolves in Ukraine. I thank Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary for their willingness to provide immediate protection. Together, we stand with the Ukrainian people“, the European Commissioner for the Interior wrote on Twitter, Ylva Johanson.

“What the European commissioner said this morning is good news, but they only talk about supporting with the means that the commission itself has. Activate the temporary protection directive, support neighboring countries and ensure that they comply with all the standards of reception or a relocation according to the criteria of shared solidarity”, he assures Dove Favièrescoordinator of the legal area of ​​the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR).

Since the 2014 conflict, Poland has already welcomed two million Ukrainians. “We have to be prepared for a surge of up to a million people.”said the prime minister Maciej Wasik. In fact, they have already advanced that they contemplate housing the refugees in sports facilities, dormitories and hostels.

They have been preparing for days before a massive arrival of Ukrainians: “The list of accommodation facilities for refugees, the number of people that would be possible to accommodate, the corresponding costs and the adaptation time of the buildings with a recommendation of up to 48 hours,” declared the mayor of a northern city. The Polish executive has recently assured that the country and its labor market “could assimilate” up to a million displaced Ukrainians.

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An attitude that collides with the anti-immigration policies of Warsaw. “I think it obeys neighborhood criteria and the types of refugees Poland wants,” says Favieres. “You have to remind him that the Geneva convention knows no nationality,” he adds.

Hundreds of people have already crossed the border

Another country that shares more than 600 kilometers with Ukraine is Romania. Your defense minister, Vasile Dincusignaled earlier in the week that his government is prepared to take in more than half a million refugees from Ukraine.

“The first data from the Border Police show an increase of several hundred people, although many of them have Romanian nationality, family or friends and even their own homes in Suceava,” border authorities told G4Media. in this country lives a Ukrainian minority of 50,000 people. Hundreds of people reportedly crossed the border early Thursday.

“We are analyzing how many refugee camps we can install in a relatively short time: 10, 12, 24 hours. We are studying the existing accommodation capacities in the border counties, but we are also evaluating the second stage, with the neighboring districts, and the third stage throughout the country,” assured the Minister of the Interior on the country’s public television.

For its part, Slovakia has also advanced that they are willing to collaborate with the reception. A provision that has been applauded by humanitarian organizations that recall the hostile treatment received by people who arrive in the country. Germany and Austria also foresee “strong” refugee flows from Ukraine to neighboring countries, and say they are preparing to provide assistance and humanitarian aid.according to the EFE agency.

“We are preparing to, first of all, support the neighboring countries (of Ukraine), where very strong flows are expected, and also to welcome those who reach our countries,” said the German Minister of the Interior, the Social Democrat Nancy Fareser. “In a scenario of a possible war in Europe, it is above all about providing humanitarian aid,” she insisted.

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While the Czech Republic considers this situation to be a “large-scale migration wave” and requires declare a state of emergency if more than 5,000 people arrive. This country that does not have a border with Ukraine, there are registered 160,000 Ukrainiansvery present in sectors such as construction.

Bulgaria, Austria and Germany offer help

The Bulgarian government today expressed its willingness to welcome Ukrainians fleeing from the Russian attack, and announced that it is prepared to accommodate between 2,000 and 4,000 Ukrainians in hotels. The Government is also preparing the evacuation of Ukrainians of Bulgarian ethnicity, even if they do not have this nationality.

Austria, one of the richest countries in the European Union (EU), has welcomed different waves of refugees in the past, although in recent years it has tightened its asylum policy regarding those fleeing conflicts in Asia and the Middle East. “The situation in Ukraine is different from that in countries like Afghanistan. It’s about helping a neighbor“, already advanced yesterday, before the beginning of the attack, the federal chancellor, the conservative Karl Nehammer. The German government offered this Thursday “massive support”both to Poland and to other neighboring European countries, in the reception of refugees and in the face of the foreseeable migratory flow that will derive after Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The Hungarian army prepares for the “massive” arrival of refugees

The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, assured this Wednesday that “in no way will it send weapons and soldiers to Ukraine” and that Hungary must stay out of the armed conflict. Furthermore, he claimed that the The Hungarian Army must be prepared “to collaborate with the Police in the face of a massive arrival of refugees.”

The two countries have so far maintained very tense relations. Budapest criticizes Kiev for limiting the rights of ethnic minoritiesincluding the Magyar of 150,000 people, while Ukraine accuses Hungary of supporting Russia’s policies. “War is the worst scenario,” said the Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, in a video posted on the social network Facebook. Szijjártó recently assured that Hungary would treat these refugees according to asylum rules, as Hungary would be the first safe country for those fleeing war.

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As he Norwegian Refugee Council as the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) have asked to include children, the elderly or prisoners in possible evacuation plans. “In the event that the armed conflict escalates, these people, who number in the tens of thousands, would have no chance of reaching safe areas,” the organization warned, noting that since the outbreak of the conflict in Donbas in 2014 there have already been cases of attacks on penitentiary institutions.

“Millions of people would suffer in a renewed conflict”

The Norwegian Refugee Council warned that “millions of people would suffer in a renewed conflict”, after eight years of division of the families living on the front line that separates the territory controlled by the Ukrainian Army dominated by pro-Russian militias.

“With the increase in political and military tensions, thousands of families will continue to be separated indefinitely”affirmed the general secretary of the NGO, Jan Egeland, who recently visited that conflict zone. He recalled that the conflict in Ukraine is the one that affects the largest population belonging to the elderly (30% of the 2.9 million people who need humanitarian aid according to the UN are elderly).

The conflict that began in 2014 has produced 854,000 internally displaced persons, and has made the country the fifth in the world with the most civilian casualties from landmine explosions.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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