Global leaders open borders and announce their support, as millions of Ukrainian refugees flee Russia’s full-scale aggression.
February 25, 2022 — Humanity is faced with the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since the Second World War, as Russia launches an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea — prompting a massive flood of refugees fleeing the nation of 44 million people.
While European borders have historically been militarized with aggressive controls, fences and border patrols — global leaders have quickly responded to the escalating Ukrainian refugee crisis, dropping their borders in a humanitarian effort to host families fleeing the sudden invasion.
Ukraine’s border states, EU members Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania as well as EU aspirant Moldova, have all announced preparations for the expected wave of refugees, which is estimated to be anywhere from 1 million to 5 million people — foreseeably one of the largest displacement of refugees in Europe since tensions between Ukraine and Russia initiated nearly a decade ago.
About 2.6 million Ukrainians have already fled the country since 2015 and are currently displaced across neighbouring countries, with a considerable population already living in Poland. With the longest shared EU border with Ukraine and a government that has historically been open to migration from nearby countries, Poland is certain to become a main destination for refugees fleeing the war.
“We are ready to help all those who will be forced to leave Ukraine,” shared Poland’s minister of national defense, Mariusz Blaszczak. As a nation with traumatic experience during World War II, “we know what support is all about,” he said.
The Slovak Interior Ministry also announced that their country is ready to accommodate refugees, even allowing individuals without a valid passport to pass through its borders following an individual assessment carried out by the border police. Slovakia’s Prime Minister added that everyone fleeing the war deserves help according to international law.
“Slovakia will responsibly adhere to the principles of humanity and solidarity, just like others did when our parents and grandparents were fleeing war and invasion,” he said.
Neighbouring, Hungary has announced that it will deploy troops to the eastern border with the task of helping any refugees, implying the traditional anti-refugee position is no longer valid, while the Moldovan President also announced that it would introduce a state of emergency and was ready to accept tens of thousands of people coming from neighbouring Ukraine, as dozens of cars were already queuing on the border between Ukraine and Moldova.
While the Czech Republic does not to share a border with Ukraine, Czech Prime Minister has also announced that their country is ready to help by accepting Ukrainian refugees and will send police units to help control Slovakia’s eastern border. The Bulgarian President also shared said his country was preparing to evacuate by land more than 4,000 ethnic Bulgarians from Ukraine and was ready to host other Ukrainian refugees, currently preparing hotels and other tourism bases to host them.
Germany has also offered humanitarian help to countries bordering Ukraine, while the Canadian government announced expediting immigration applications from Ukraine, having already approved more than 1,800 Ukrainian immigration applications on a priority basis.
“The world is already facing its biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, with more than 22 million refugees around the world who have been forcibly displaced from their country by war and persecution,” shares Talimka Yordanova, CEO of the Global Citizen Forum.
“While it is worth acknowledging the timely action of leaders who recognize the responsibility of providing safety and security to those who need it, we need to highlight the importance and urgency of implementing long-term solutions and policy changes.”