War in Ukraine: the number of refugees in Germany increases

Status: 09.03.2022 18:54

More and more people are fleeing from Ukraine to Germany. It is not clear exactly how many there are: there are no controls at the EU’s internal borders. To coordinate the admission of people, municipalities are calling for a summit.

The number of war refugees arriving in Germany has again increased significantly. So far, the federal police have registered a total of 80,035 people from Ukraine who fled to Germany before the war of Russian aggression. On Tuesday the number was still a whopping 64,000. In fact, the number is likely to be significantly higher than recorded in the statistics.

According to the United Nations, more than two million people have flown from Ukraine to neighboring countries in the west, most of them to Poland. It is not clear how many traveled from there to Germany. Although the federal police are currently carrying out further checks, there are no regular checks at the EU’s internal borders. Many of the refugees are therefore probably not initially recorded in the statistics.

Interior Minister Faeser does not see the need for a distribution key for Ukrainian refugees

Tagesschau 20:00, 9.3.2022

“Surely surpass the 2015 figures”

Experts assume that the number of Ukrainians seeking protection in Germany could rise to the millions and that many of them will stay long. “My personal prediction is that arrivals this year will definitely surpass 2015 figures,” says escape researcher Birgit Glorius of Chemnitz University of Technology. “The scale is open-ended.” In 2015, around 900,000 migrants entered Germany, mainly from Syria.

Glorius said Ukrainians need not only a first place of refuge, but also housing, educational opportunities, language courses, psychosocial support and human sympathy. “This will also be Germany’s biggest humanitarian challenge since the end of World War II.”

Expert: Impossible to return if Putin wins

According to migration expert Gerald Knaus, many of the refugees could stay abroad permanently. Because the Russian president’s project is the destruction of the Ukrainian identity. As Vladimir Putin, to his own surprise, now observes “that there is indeed a strong Ukrainian identity, that even the Russian-speaking cities of Kharkiv or Odessa are mobilizing against his invasion and for their democracy, he is counting on the movement of people” , said Knaus of the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. If Putin wins the war, it is “almost impossible for people to return to their country of origin, Ukraine”.

Berlin Central Station is one of the points where many refugees from Ukraine arrive. Helpers distribute food to them.

Image: AP

City Day: “Distribute refugees nationwide”

In view of the rapidly increasing number of war refugees, the German Association of Cities has called for a federal, state and local summit. “Cities are preparing intensively for more people to enter. For all of this we need the support of the federal and state governments,” Helmut Dedy, director general of the city association, told media group Funke newspapers.

What is needed, for example, is an agreement on what assumptions are made and what skills need to be developed. “In addition, federal and state governments need to go to great lengths to distribute refugees nationwide, even if they are mostly allowed to move freely,” Dedy said. Some cities are particularly affected as central transport hubs.

Geographically, these are currently mainly cities near the Polish border, such as Frankfurt (Oder) and Berlin, where many trains from Poland arrive. Dedy asked the federal government for a pledge that these cities would not be left alone with the financial consequences of welcoming refugees.

Faeser: Fixed unnecessary distribution key

According to Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, this should initially work without a rigid distribution mechanism. So far, people have been welcomed and welcomed by federal states “on a solidarity basis,” the minister said on the sidelines of a special session of the Bundestag’s Interior Committee. A great deal of solidarity is also felt in the European Union.

When assigning asylum seekers to federal states, the so-called Königstein key is used. Theoretically, this could also be used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees.

Wüst: “We can do it”

North Rhine-Westphalia, which is far from the border with Poland, has announced that it will increase the state’s capacity to accommodate refugees to 125,000 places in the short term to facilitate the transition to municipalities.

Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst said in a special session of the state parliament in Düsseldorf that he will support his country’s municipalities in welcoming refugees “no ifs and buts”. And in his speech he chose a special quote: “Yes, it will be hard, yes, it will be difficult, but I want to say it very clearly: we can do it”. The CDU politician repeated the much-discussed statement by then Chancellor Angela Merkel in the so-called refugee crisis of 2015.

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