People evacuated by the Donetsk People’s Republic march towards the Russian Emergency Ministry camp, Veselo-Voznesenka (on the Azov sea coast), on February 19, 2022.
Andrey Borodulin | Afp | Getty Images
The crisis is escalating in Ukraine unfoldsThe fallout is being closely monitored by neighboring countries.
The sanctions imposed by nations around the world on Moscow are unprecedented, however the military and economic repercussions from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is only one part of the story.
The European continent is concerned that a full-blown incursion could lead to a major migrant crisis — the type not seen since World War II — with serious humanitarian, political and societal costs both for Ukrainian refugees and the countries to which they flee.
Some central European countries are making preparations already.
Poland has a roughly 530-kilometer border with Ukraine and Poland last month said it was preparing for as many as 1,000,000 Ukrainian refugees. They plan to shelter them in hostels or dormitories. Romanian neighbors are anticipating the influx of migrants in the “hundreds of thousands“, while Slovakia and Czech Republic estimated that inflows were in the thousands.
The scale of possible civilian displacement in Ukraine is unknown due to the changing situation.
Oksana Antonenko from Control Risks’ global risk analysis, said that Europe could be one of the worst impacts of the crisis.
Ukraine, home to roughly 44 millionSaw. internal displacement of around 1.5 million peopleFollowing Russia’s 2014 annexe of Crimea. Other people moved to Russia.
Russia’s earlier in the week operation to seize rebel-held Donetsk, Luhansk areas was believed to be likely to cause similar eastward and internal migrations. However, on different scales. Many people have indeed been sent to Russia.
Experts warn that Thursday’s incursion in central and west Ukraine may have even more serious consequences.
U.S. officials believe that an invasion by Ukraine would cause a humanitarian crisis. one to five million UkrainiansTo flee from the battlefield. The defense minister of Ukraine has brought that number closer to his attention. three to five million.
Antonenko explained that, “if this is to occur, we’re certain about hundreds of thousands, if they not millions of refugees and they will most likely flee into Europe rather then Russia.”
“If you ended up with a Russian occupied Ukraine, then those would be longer term European refugees,” added Rodger Baker, Stratfor’s senior vice president for strategic analysis at Rane.
If this is the case, the majority of those affected may migrate overland from their home country to neighboring countries, such as Poland, Hungary Slovakia Moldova or Romania. Under EU policy, no visa is required for Ukrainians to enter the Schengen Area — a common travel area among EU countries, which includes all the aforementioned bar Moldova and Romania.
However, western European nations like Britain, France and Germany could feel the moral pressure quickly to shoulder the responsibility of the U.K’s worst migrant crisis since the war.
One woman is carrying her personal belongings, while others evacuated from Donetsk People’s Republic wait in bus stations to be moved.
AFP | AFP | Getty Images
According to the Pentagon, 3,000 U.S. military personnel were sent to Poland last week to assist with preparations for an upcoming war. potential influx of migrantsAfter authorities said that it must be ready for “the worst-case scenario”,
“If there is a war in Ukraine, we have to be prepared for an influx of real refugees, people fleeing from the inferno, from death, from the atrocities of war,” Poland’s deputy interior minister, Maciej Wasik, told Polish television.
“As governments, we need to be prepared for all possible scenarios, and the interior ministry is taking measures to ensure that this happens.
A significant Ukrainian community is already residing in Poland. Although few people have applied for refugee status in Poland, around 200,000 asylum seekers were granted. 300,000 temporary residenceIn recent years, visas for Ukrainians have increased in number. Indeed, some estimate as many as 2 millionSince the annexe of Crimea, many Ukrainians have moved to Poland.
Although human rights activists have welcomed preparations, some have pointed out apparent double standards in the willingness of central European countries to take refugees.
Poland refused to grant asylum during the European migration crisis of 2015, when there was an influx of Syrian refugees. In 2021, Polish border patrols expelled a large number of mostly Iraqi Kurdistan migrants. at the Belarusian border.
Nevertheless, there are serious political consequences of mass migration. It is believed that the 2015 refugee crisis aided in the growth of the anti-immigration far-right movement across Europe. Similar influxes of migrants may pose similar problems in an already fragile post-Covid context.
However, governments are unlikely to have a full understanding of the consequences for migration and how much they might be affected by an invasion.
Baker said that governments rarely are fully ready for any eventuality, even when they do occur. “They are currently focusing their attention on prevention and the short-term.”
He said that Poland is sensitive to the current situation and added that the rest of the world “are not looking for good things.”