Poland expects up to a million Ukrainian refugees if Russia invades Ukraine further

31 January 2022, 02:13 PM

Poland expects up to a million Ukrainian refugees on its border if there is a further invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Maciej Wąsik, the First Deputy Minister of the Interior and Administration of Poland, told Poland’s TV Republika television channel on Jan. 28.

“If it comes to war in Ukraine, we must take into account an influx of real refugees,” Wąsik said.

“People running from gunfire, people running from death, running from the atrocities of war.”

He added that Poland should be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

“There are several scenarios. Perhaps more positive or not so radical scenarios will be realized,” the deputy minister said.

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“But we must be ready for a black scenario, and the Interior Ministry has already been taking action so that we are ready for a wave of even a million people who, under the most radical scenario, may appear on our eastern border.”

Wąsik said this would involve the preparation of border crossings, medical care, accommodation, and meals.

“According to the Geneva Convention, these people will be under the protection of Poland, and we will not shirk this responsibility,” he said.

“Where there are refugees, we must help them – this is international law. But these are also the rules for the coexistence of civilized people, the principles of both European and Christian culture. We will not shirk away from this and we will not steel ourselves against it.”

The minister also urged citizens not to succumb to hysteria and panic.

He said he thought that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not attempt an invasion before the end of the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb. 20, which this year are being hosted in the Chinese capital of Beijing, since relations with China are very important to the Russian president.

Russia has been massing troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border since late October.

More than 130,000 Russian troops and offensive weapons have been deployed near Ukrainian borders and in the temporarily occupied territories, according to the latest intelligence estimate from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

International media have speculated that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022, in an operation that could involve up to 175,000 Russian soldiers.

Both U.S. and European officials have expressed concern over the situation. U.S. President Joe Biden in December declared that the White House was working out “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do.

”The proposed measures include cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international banking system, personal sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, and a ban on U.S. dollar transactions with Russia.

On Jan. 14, the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper and the U.S.-based CNN news channel reported that Russia had positioned covert operatives in Ukraine to carry out a “false flag” operation to use as a pretext for a Russian attack.

While Russia has denied plans to invade, it has also refused to provide assurances that it would not do so, instead demanding that it be provided with “security guarantees” by the United States and NATO.

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