The EU leadership predicts that Russia's invasion of Ukraine will lead to a new influx of refugees into European countries. Brussels is developing plans to quickly evacuate EU citizens from the country and accommodate tens of thousands of refugees on European soil, European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas told Welt.
He assured that the EC would do its best to help the EU countries to evacuate their citizens from Ukrainian territory in case of an emergency. He estimated that about 20,000 citizens of European countries currently live in Ukraine. Schinas warned that the invasion would provoke increased migratory pressure on the EU.
"It is estimated that between 20,000 and over a million refugees could come," he said.
The official assumed that, as in the case of Belarus, the Kremlin may deliberately use the refugees as a means of pressure on the European Union.
According to humanitarian organizations cited by NBC News, in case of a new Russian attack, the Ukrainian population is likely to flee to nearby Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.
"We have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, and [we] are taking steps to be ready for a wave of up to a million people," Maciej Wąsik, Poland’s Deputy Interior Minister, stated.
The Baltic countries—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia—also stated they were preparing to receive refugees. Latvia stated it was considering setting up a network of refugee centers on its eastern border.
According to the experts, the governments of the EU, the US and other countries should provide financial and other support to those states that will bear the brunt of migration.
Context. The White House and NATO accused Russia of increasing the number of troops amassed on the border with Ukraine, the very day after Moscow stated it had begun withdrawing some of its military units from the region. The US notes that the risk of a Russian attack on Ukraine remains very high and could happen in the next few days.