Poland 'well prepared' to welcome Ukrainians fleeing conflict--EU commissioner | Inquirer News

Poland ‘well prepared’ to welcome Ukrainians fleeing conflict–EU commissioner

/ 12:41 PM February 23, 2022

poland ukraine

Protesters wave Ukrainian and Polish flags during a demonstration for peace in Ukraine, in Warsaw, Poland, on February 20, 2022. AFP

BRUSSELS — Poland is “quite well prepared to welcome a lot of Ukrainians” fleeing a Russian offensive in their country, the EU’s home affairs commissioner said after talks on Tuesday with Poland’s deputy interior minister.

EU commissioner Ylva Johansson spoke in Warsaw with Poland’s Bartosz Grodecki on his country’s plans and preparations to handle various scenarios that might be thrown up by Moscow’s decisions to recognize separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and to ready troops to deploy into them, and beyond.


“I must say that I’m quite convinced that Poland is quite well prepared to welcome a lot of Ukrainians if necessary,” she told AFP in a telephone interview.


EU member Poland is part of the bloc’s border with Ukraine, a non-member.

Johansson did not advance any estimate of how many Ukrainians might seek shelter in Poland from Russian military action, nor details of the plans drawn up by Warsaw.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has created a working group to set out the logistical, transport, medical and educational needs that would be required to host a wave of Ukrainian refugees.

European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas told the German daily Die Welt last week that “between 20,000 and more than a million refugees” could pour from Ukraine into the EU if military tensions with Russia escalate.

Johansson said the commission stood ready to provide economic support to Poland if needed, as well as assistance from the EU Agency for Asylum, Europol and the EU’s border control agency Frontex.

She said Poland had already lodged a request for Frontex help if a large number of Ukrainians arrive.


That contrasted with Poland’s handling of migrant flows last year, when Belarus — also a non-EU neighbor, but one allied with Russia — facilitated the movement of would-be asylum-seekers from the Middle East right up to Poland’s border.

Then, Warsaw declined any deployment of Frontex, instead using robust methods to prevent migrants crossing into its territory that human rights groups said broke international law.


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TAGS: Conflict, Poland, Russia

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