Stabilisation of emergency measures: Poland’s refugee reception system one month after the Russian attack on Ukraine
On 24 February 2022, by invading Ukraine, Russia started the biggest war of one state against another in Europe since 1945. Through indiscriminate attacks by the Russian forces on civilian areas and infrastructure, strikes on protected buildings such as hospitals and schools, and the use of ballistic missiles and banned weapons, we are witnessing an unprecedented escalation in violations of humanitarian and human rights laws, including cases of execution, kidnapping and rape in the localities occupied by the Russian army. On 2 April, mass graves of civilians murdered in the vicinity of Kyiv were revealed, demonstrating how dangerous it is for civilians to remain on the territories occupied by Russia.
In these tragic circumstances, as of 18 April Poland has accepted 2.8 million refugees of a total of 4.98 million people fleeing Ukraine, comprising both Ukrainian citizens and third-country nationals (a phenomenon of global importance, considering its scale and rapidity). It is estimated that as many as half of that number may have gone on to other EU countries. The current phase of Poland’s crisis response can be referred to as one of stabilisation, which began around mid-March after the more improvised emergency phase seen at the outset of the war. In this Forum contribution we explain why Poland became a shelter for refugees from Ukraine fleeing war and how the country’s reaction evolved over the five weeks that followed.
Marta Jaroszewicz & Mateusz Krępa dla Forum on the EU Temporary Protection Responses to the Ukraine War