Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) has pledged Germany’s financial support to Ukraine’s neighboring countries due to the large number of war refugees. Germany can help so that refugees in countries like Moldova can be assisted locally, Baerbock said on Monday in Eisenhüttenstadt (Oder-Spree). Together with Brandenburg Minister of the Interior Michael Stübgen (CDU), she visited the state’s initial central reception facility. It currently hosts around 1,500 Ukrainian refugees.
According to Olaf Jansen, head of the Central Immigration Office in Eisenhüttenstadt, up to 15,000 refugees from Ukraine have been welcomed across Brandenburg. The people who arrived traveled even farther. How many of them remain in Brandenburg depends on how many refugees are admitted nationally, Jansen explained. War refugees from Ukraine are distributed according to a certain key, which is based on tax revenue and population.
Many of the refugees – mostly women and children – are hoping to be able to return and are waiting for the situation, Jansen said. In the initial reception center, they would be provided with essentials, asked about their intention to travel, and then they would receive help to continue their journey. Those who want to stay in Brandenburg would be registered and distributed to the municipalities. It works very well.
Baerbock called the commitment to Ukrainian refugees in Brandenburg “remarkable”. This shows how we can face situations that no one could really prepare for in a very pragmatic way: “In Brandenburg style, don’t talk about it for a long time, just do it”, praised the Foreign Minister.
Stübgen reiterated the state’s call for financial aid from the federal government for the care of Ukrainian refugees. There must soon be clarity for the country and for the municipalities, he said. “Now that this war has been raging in Ukraine for five weeks, it will soon be important for us to also know how to implement the financing of all these issues,” said Stübgen. At the same time, she joined the call from other federal states to set up a central government crisis management team because there was not yet “sufficient” coordination.
Baerbock has pledged federal government help
Baerbock has pledged federal government help. “It is clear that if you are a long-term place here taking on this first reception and then further distribution, in the future it will also need the corresponding financial resources from the federal government so that this important work can continue to be done.” Brandenburg will be Poland’s closest neighbor and will continue to play a role in the near future as a central location for the subsequent distribution of refugees.
Some municipalities in Brandenburg will soon find themselves on the edge when it comes to welcoming war refugees from Ukraine. “When it comes to the housing issue, in some cities and municipalities it is becoming evident that it is becoming a big problem,” said the president of the Association of Cities and Municipalities, Wittenberg Mayor Oliver Hermann on Monday. “Like Brandenburg, we are the country of arrival and at some point (…) we will reach the limits of our capacity. Some cities have already arrived, especially in metropolitan areas.” The wave of support from citizens is high. “But we expect that, understandably, it won’t last forever.”
Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) and Baerbock are predicting up to around 40,000 refugees in Brandenburg. Cottbus is one of several hubs in Germany for the distribution of refugees. The point is that everyone who arrives there finds their way and that a bed is available for everyone if needed, said the board of directors of the regional association of DRK Hubertus Diemer. “It has to be feasible.” DRK coordinates on-site support in Cottbus. According to him, 20 to 40 DRK employees should be hired if necessary.
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During his visit to the first reception, the Foreign Minister stressed the need for international air transport initiated by the federal government for people who have fled to Ukraine’s neighboring countries. “We need a distribution there,” Baerbock said. No one will walk from Belarus, Moldova or Poland to Spain, let alone cross the Atlantic alone. “For this we need an airlift, which I am working on at full speed with the G7 countries,” he said.
At the same time, he defended the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank. Russian President Putin has decided not only to attack the sovereignty of Ukraine, but also the peace order in Europe. “That is why we also support our Eastern European neighbors in Poland, in the Baltic states, who obviously have even greater concerns than we do because they are even closer to Russia,” he said. “The security that we promised each other as Europeans, we must now give each other this security.” (Dpa)