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Ukraine refugee numbers 'stable': Polish interior minister

08.11.2022 22:00
The Polish interior minister said on Tuesday that the situation on Poland’s border with Ukraine was "stable" and the number of war refugees in his country was not growing substantially.
Mariusz Kamiński.
Mariusz Kamiński.PAP/Tomasz Gzell

Mariusz Kamiński made the assessment in an interview with state broadcaster TVP Info. 

He said: “At the moment, the situation is fairly stable. In truth, the number of refugees from Ukraine in Poland is not rising notably.”

However, Kamiński warned that Russia’s war methods, such as “destroying Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, including heat-and-power plants and water supply” were designed “to sow panic among ordinary Ukrainians and spark another wave of migration.”

The Polish interior minister said that the government in Kyiv “is doing everything it can to make the people of Ukraine feel safe,” while “many countries, including Poland, are providing extensive support to Ukraine and its people.”

Kamiński added: “Hopefully it won’t be necessary for further thousands or millions of our neighbours from Ukraine to seek refuge outside their own country."

At the moment, Poland is home to about 1.3 million refugees from Ukraine, according to officials, after some of those who arrived in the early days of the Russian invasion later travelled to Western Europe or returned to Ukraine.   

Since Russia invaded on February 24, a total of 7,590,000 people have crossed into Poland from Ukraine, the Polish Border Guard reported on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, almost 5.8 million people have left Poland for Ukraine since February 24, the agency said.

Poland bolsters protection at Russian border

Kamiński was also asked about a temporary fence being built since the start of this month on Poland's border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.   

He said Poland was seeking to bolster “physical protection” of the Russian border, in addition to an electronic barrier, featuring cameras and motion detectors, which is slated for completion by the end of next year. 

Kamiński told TVP Info: “In fact, we’ve been planning to secure the Russian border very significantly for a long time - we know how the Russians operate.”

He added that last year’s migration crisis on Poland’s border with Belarus “took place with the full knowledge and approval from Russia and at Russia’s instigation.” 

Kamiński said in the interview that “Russia exploits illegal migration as an element of hybrid warfare.”

He warned: “We must be prepared for the eventuality that the border with Russia’s Kaliningrad region will also be a highly dangerous border. There is evidence to suggest that the Russians have already begun the first phase of repeating the actions that were previously employed in Belarus.”

He added that authorities in Kaliningrad had signed agreements with airlines from Syria and Turkey, and there were plans to establish flight routes from the likes of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Ethiopia.

“These are countries where the potential for illegal migration is huge,” Kamiński said.

He noted that Poland had already built a steel wall along its border with Belarus and was also setting up an electronic barrier that is expected to be ready by the end of November. 

“Poland’s eastern border will be the most secure external border of the European Union,” Kamiński vowed, echoing an earlier statement by a deputy.

Tuesday was day 258 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: PAP, tvp.info, wnp.pl