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Poland preparing for the next wave of Ukrainian refugees

Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy and water infrastructure along with the coming cold weather have prompted concerns that more Ukrainians may flee westwards this winter. Poland is preparing a reception base for a potential next wave of refugees from the war-torn country. The Polish authorities are also in talks with the Ukrainian government to provide necessary help on the ground, deputy Interior Minister Bartosz Grodecki told private radio broadcaster RMF FM on Monday.

As part of the help to be provided on-site, Poland will establish “container towns” in Ukraine which “will be equipped with heating and power generators,” Bartosz Grodecki said.

Furthermore, Agnieszka Ścigaj, a Minister-Member of the Council of Ministers, said that government officials are briefing all necessary services, organisations and reception points that “have already proven themselves” to ensure that nobody is “left out on the streets”.

Eastern European countries are getting ready to reopen reception centers and are restocking food supplies in anticipation of a possible new Ukrainian refugee wave amid Russian attacks on Ukraine's power grid and heating plants, Reuters reported on Nov. 9.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) November 9, 2022

The minister noted that the authorities now have adequate resources and experience acquired at the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, which will allow them to act more efficiently if the next wave of refugees materialises.

Ukrainians are not currently anticipating large-scale evacuations, but of course, we need to be permanently prepared for all sorts of emergencies in which we will need to act,” she emphasised.

“Ukrainian politicians are doing everything to ensure that migration takes place internally,” Agnieszka Ścigaj added.

Situation of Ukrainians in Poland

Minister Ścigaj also referred to the situation of refugees currently in Poland. She pointed out that more than half a million of them are people who are gradually becoming independent and require less and less assistance from the state.

She pointed to a programme being developed, that would support refugees still in collective centres to take up employment and settle in smaller centres, where, among other things, vacant buildings would be adapted for them.

More than 7.7 mln already entered Ukraine

The Border Guard reported on Monday that since February 24, 7.724 million people have entered Poland from Ukraine and more than 5.92 million have left Poland for Ukraine. On Sunday, Border Guard officers cleared 23,700 people going from Ukraine to Poland and 24,300 people crossed the border in the opposite direction.

7.7 million people left Ukraine because of Russian invasion. Most of them are in Poland (1.5 mln) and Germany (1 mln). – @EuromaidanPress

— UkraineWorld (@ukraine_world) October 30, 2022

According to the interior minister, there are already 100,000 places available to cope with a possible second refugee wave this winter. Poland is currently housing around 1.3 million Ukrainian refugees.

Monday marks the 264th day of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

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