War in Ukraine: Refugees welcome in NRW

The Russian invasion creates horrific images of war in Ukraine and immense suffering for the population. Women and children in particular are fleeing the fighting to safer areas. Tens of thousands are already seeking refuge in neighboring countries. NRW is also preparing to welcome refugees from Ukraine.

Only a few people from Ukraine made it to North Rhine-Westphalia. But North Rhine-Westphalia is also preparing to welcome war refugees from Ukraine. Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) wants to discuss state support at a refugee summit with municipal umbrella organizations on Wednesday. “North Rhine-Westphalia is obviously ready to welcome people on the run,” Wüst said in Düsseldorf on Tuesday. “Anyone fleeing Putin (Russian President Vladimir) is welcome in North Rhine-Westphalia.”

Allow Ukrainian children to go to school

NRW wants to allow refugee children from Ukraine to attend school as soon as possible. The education ministry is preparing everything necessary in close cooperation with the school authorities, he said on Tuesday on request.

Wüst said the EU was about to activate the “mass influx clause” at EU level for the first time. In anticipation of a huge movement of refugees, the EU Commission wants to propose rules for the first time in the event of a “massive influx” of displaced persons. In particular, displaced persons arriving in the EU as a result of the Russian war against Ukraine could therefore be granted immediate temporary protection with certain minimum standards without a lengthy asylum procedure.

“Anyone fleeing Putin is welcome to NRW!”

According to Wüst, refugees from Ukraine are welcomed everywhere in the EU, but large numbers are likely to remain in Ukraine’s neighboring countries due to family ties. In Germany, refugees would be distributed across countries according to the Königstein key, “so that no one here has to worry about a massive influx that couldn’t be managed,” Wüst said. “We will be able to handle it.” He will talk to the municipalities about the organization and the necessary funds and on Thursday he will meet the humanitarian organizations. NRW also coordinates closely with the federal government.

According to the refugee ministry, NRW has 33 state-owned housing with more than 21,000 places. Approximately 11,200 seats are currently occupied. Due to crown protection measures, only 15,000 good seats are likely to be filled at the moment, but the ministry could increase capacities at short notice if needed.

Admit children to schools “quickly and flexibly”.

“We are very concerned about the war in Ukraine, which is forcing thousands of Ukrainians to flee,” said school minister Yvonne Gebauer (FDP). “North Rhine-Westphalia is aware of its responsibilities and welcomes the people who are coming to safety from the war.” The country has a good school integration infrastructure, so that children and young people can be admitted to school “quickly and flexibly”.

Much suffering is caused by the Russian aggressive war against Ukraine, Wüst said. “Russia bears full responsibility for this unfounded and unjustified military aggression. Russia must be held accountable for its actions. “

Federal Vice-President of the SPD Thomas Kutschaty warned against bringing the Russian war against Ukraine into German society and “in schoolyards”. Russians living in Germany “are not responsible for the armed conflict instigated by Vladimir Putin,” Kuchaty said after a special session of the SPD parliamentary group, of which he is the leader.

Great solidarity with all parties

War is also a humanitarian catastrophe. “We are also ready to show great willingness to help in North Rhine-Westphalia,” said Kuchaty. “We open our arms to all those who have to flee Ukraine and need refuge in the NRW.”

The Consul General of Ukraine in Düsseldorf, Iryna Shum, also took part in the meeting of the group. “The willingness to help here is enormous,” she said, thanking them for their solidarity and support. It is still too early to give figures on the number of refugees arriving. Many Ukrainians have relatives in NRW. A large influx is not expected in the next few days. Polish Consul General Jakub Wawrzyniak said many refugees are currently staying with friends and families in neighboring Poland.

According to the United Nations, some 520,000 people have already fled Ukraine to surrounding countries. In Germany, too, more and more people are coming from there. A spokesperson for the Federal Interior Ministry said federal police had ascertained the entry of 3,063 war refugees by Tuesday morning. As there are no internal border controls in the EU, the number of war refugees who have entered the country could actually be significantly higher.

(vd) / © dpa-infocom, dpa: 220301-99-337637 / 5

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