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Ukrainian Refugees: The Churches at the Front Line

by Michele Lipori

by Michele Lipori. Confronti's Staff.

Following the Russian invasion, as of March 16, 2022, more than 3.5 million people have left Ukraine, while the number of displaced people in the country remains unknown. According to The Guardian, this is the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II, with many points in common with the wars in ex-Yugoslavia of the 1990s. In this situation, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has banned men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country, and more than 60,000 Ukrainian expatriates have returned home to take up arms. In addition to the tragedy of those who remain to fight and those who continue their race to safety, there is also the situation of the many who have friends and family in Russia. 

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the country that has currently received the majority of refugees is Poland (1,975,449), followed by Romania (508,692), Moldova (355,426) and Hungary (291,230). The Ministry of the Interior has declared that, so far, there are just over 50,000 refugees who have arrived in Italy. The majority is made up of women (25,846) and minors (20,478), while men number fewer than 10% of the total (4,325).

During his visit to Chişinău, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio delivered a first shipment of humanitarian aid and drafted a ten million euro agreement with Moldova to support the country in its effort to welcome people on the run. In the aftermath of the invasion, a concrete reaction also came from the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy which activated itself using the consolidated reception networks for refugees who arrived with the Humanitarian Corridors and asked for the support of local churches, associations, and able families to guarantee prolonged hospitality.

“With this commitment,” underlines the president of the FCEI, Daniele Garrone, “We also want to reaffirm the criterion of European co-responsibility in the management of refugees, against the logic of national selfishness that has often characterized the debate on immigration along the Mediterranean route,” and, therefore, include also the “non-Ukrainian refugees fleeing Ukraine, who seem to encounter serious difficulties in entering Poland. [This represents] an intolerable discrimination that we ask the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the European Union authorities to firmly oppose.”

Ph. © Arpad Csaba Majoros/Malteser Ungarn / CopyLeft

Michele Lipori

Michele Lipori

Confronti's Staff

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