Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine May Trigger a Refugee Crisis. Here’s How the World Is Preparing

Ukrainians fled eastern Ukraine within hours of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. According to a spokesperson from t, most of them were going to Ukraine. Others began moving across the international border into Poland or other Central European countries.TIME was told by the International Organization for Migration, a United Nations agency. According to the spokesperson, it was not clear how many people had been forced from their homes so far.

Since weeks, neighboring countries and international aid agencies have prepared for the possible mass displacement of Ukrainians. Ukraine’s defense minister estimated in December that a Russian-invasion could force between three and five million people to flee their homes.
[time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

It would be a huge increase in the number of people who are forced to flee this conflict. This is in contrast with the roughly one million refugee arrivals from Europe during 2015-16, mostly fleeing Syria and Iraq.

Learn More: Here’s What We Know So Far About Russia’s Assault on Ukraine

According to Yael Schacher (deputy director for Americas and Europe, Refugees International), a refugee advocacy group, experts expect that the responsibility for caring for those displaced Ukrainians will be borne mainly by internal aid organisations and neighbouring European countries. The U.S. provides logistical, financial, and personnel support. “We can insure that the U.S. does its fair share in handling this refugee flow,” she told TIME.

IOM staff and others from the UN are currently in Ukraine providing aid for civilians. “We, along with the UN and the humanitarian community are committed to staying and delivering [aid] in a neutral and impartial manner, prioritizing humanitarian imperatives,” a spokesperson for the IOM tells TIME.

The U.S. Department of Defense reports that U.S. soldiers have been deployed in Europe to assist European neighbors. According to The New York Times Troops from Poland work with Polish forces to establish centers near Ukraine’s border. These centres will allow refugees to be admitted and offer resources such as medical aid. Times.

Staff make preparations at a reception centre for Ukrainian refugees in Dorohusk, Poland after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in Ukraine, on Feb. 24.
Janek Skarzynski—AFP/Getty ImagesAfter Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a military operation against Ukraine on February 24, the staff at Dorohusk in Poland prepare for it.

According to U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID), Samantha Power, Director of USAID has been in contact with Ukrainian communities and other organizations in order to provide information on contingency plans for humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. This was stated publicly by the agency on February 21. USAID did not respond to TIME’s request for more detail.

The governments of all five countries that share a border with Ukraine—Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova—which have historically opposed refugee resettlement, announced that they will receive Ukrainian refugees. The European Union also promised to help Ukrainian refugees fleeing into EU countries.

Continue reading: ‘We Will Defend Ourselves.’ Photographs of Ukraine Under Attack

“We hope that there will be as little as possible refugees, but we are fully prepared for them and they are welcome,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a Public statementOn Thursday, the EU announced that it will be increasing financial support for Ukraine. 1.2 BillionIt announced that it would provide assistance in the amount of €21 to stabilize Ukraine on February 21st. Ukrainians can stay in EU countries for up to 90 days under a specific visa that they have had since 2017.

The aftermath of Russia’s 2014 invasion as a model of what’s to come

For many, Russia’s 2014 incursion into the Ukrainian regions of Crimea and Donbas now feels like a dress rehearsal. Over the past eight years, many humanitarian groups in Ukraine formed to aid internal displacement. These organizations will probably continue working through the Russian invasion. Daphne Panayotatos as an advocate for Europe, Refugees International

Researches by the Rand Corporation found that hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians settled in Poland following the conflict. Poland has the second-largest border to Ukraine. “Poland issued some 300,000 temporary residence visas for Ukrainians in recent years, while some put the total numbers of Ukrainians living and working in Poland after these events as high as two million,” according to a February RAND report.
Benjamin Ward, deputy director of Europe and Central Asia for Human Rights Watch, an international human rights organization, says Ukrainians’ experience in Poland in 2014 is a good sign that the country may keep its doors open again to them this year. However, Ward warns international aid organisations to remain alert. People migrating from Belarus to reach the Polish border were stopped by military forces last fall.
“There was an enormous amount of human suffering that arose in that situation and there wasn’t a great deal of humanity or compassion or a willingness [by the EU or Poland] to consider the the human toll,” he says. He adds that the politics of this election are very different.

Panayotatos of Refugees International says Poland’s ambivalent stance on refugees can be chalked up to politics and race. “There’s the politics of it, of course, wanting to stand up to Russia the aggressor. It makes a strong political statement to…categorize [Ukrainians] as refugees,” she tells TIME. “But it’s also because Ukrainians are largely white, Christian Europeans, rather than Middle Eastern and African individuals who are seeking safety. There’s an element there that needs to be pointed out.”

Slovakia promised to only accept Christian refugees in 2015 Trump cut the U.S. refugee admissions program to historic lows. In 2020, the Ukrainians were the biggest group to be able to settle in the United States.

People enter Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania, after having crossed from Ukraine, on Feb. 24, 2022.
Andreea Campeanu—Getty ImagesPeople cross from Ukraine to enter Sighetu marmatiei in Romania on Feb. 24, 2022.

Related Articles

Back to top button