European countries are banding together to prepare for a refugee crisis in Ukraine.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, countries across Europe are ready for an unprecedented influx of refugees. On Saturday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report. It estimated that more than 160,000 Ukrainians have been “internally displaced” within the country. Plus, more than 116,000 individuals flee the country.
Europe has been preparing for this for a long time. Ukraine’s Minister of Defense, Oleksii Reznikov, warned in December that a Russian invasion of Ukraine might result in up to 5 million Ukrainians seeking asylum.
Poland’s Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik claimed his country was preparing for “a surge of up to a million refugees”. According to The New York Times, the Polish army has lately set up processing stations along the border. Moreover, it has repurposed an arena to serve as a refuge for 500 migrants. Poland shares a border with Ukraine, and over 2 million Ukrainians live and work there.
Furthermore, Moldova had taken in about 16,000 refugees as of Friday, according to Interior Minister Ana Revenco. She spoke at a press conference on February 25. Only 386 Ukrainian migrants have applied for asylum in the United States.
Before the invasion, Romanian Defense Minister Vasile Dincu told Reuters on February 22: “There are several estimates. We could receive over 500,000 refugees. That is…the number for which we have prepared alongside the interior ministry and other institutions.”
With Russia’s invasion looming, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reaffirmed his commitment to assisting in the placement of Ukrainian refugees. “This country will continue to do what it has always done and welcome individuals escaping persecution”. Johnson declared in front of the House of Commons. “That’s exactly what we’ll do.”
Lastly, The Biden administration expects the majority of Ukrainian refugees to relocate to neighboring European nations, according to US Press Secretary Jen Psaki. According to CBS News, the government is also considering giving Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure to safeguard Ukrainians currently in the United States from deportation.