Cyprus Mail

Number of Ukrainians entering EU back to pre-war levels

Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion wait to board a train to Poland outside the train station in Lviv

The number of Ukrainians crossing into European Union countries has returned to levels from before Russia’s invasion and more people will be coming – and going – before school starts, the senior EU official for migration said on Monday.

Since Moscow attacked Ukraine – a neighbour of both Russia to the east and the EU to the west – in February, more than 6 million Ukrainians have fled to the bloc, border guard agency Frontex said at the end of June. About 3.1 million of them had already returned home, it said.

“When it comes to the refugee flows, the situation now is stable. The crossings between the EU and Ukraine, the numbers are pre-war, pre-COVID level, so we are back to like a normal number of people crossing,” Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told reporters.

At the moment, almost the same number of people were entering the EU as returning to Ukraine, Johansson said on arriving for a meeting of EU home affairs ministers in Prague.

“I foresee that a lot of Ukrainians in the EU will take a decision before school starts – where to start school, in an EU member state or going back to Ukraine to start school there,” she said.

“I think the coming month, a lot of people will make a decision if they will go back now or if they will stay further on here.”

Johansson said the Czech Republic was the country with the highest number of Ukrainian refugees per capita, followed by Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Latvia.

At their meeting in Prague, EU home affairs ministers will discuss security consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine for the bloc, including as regards trafficking in arms, humans and drugs as well as document forgery and money laundering.

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