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Many Ukrainian refugees plan to celebrate Easter with Poles, survey shows

07.04.2023 22:00
Most Ukrainian refugees staying in Poland plan to celebrate Easter with their compatriots, but some will spend the holidays with Poles, a survey has found, reflecting what experts say are deepening ties between the two neighbouring nations.
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"Almost three-quarters of Ukrainian refugees residing in Poland are planning to stay in Poland during Easter, and almost half of them will spend this time together with their families who are also in Poland," according to a study entitled War Refugees from Ukraine: Easter in Poland.

Meanwhile, 11 percent of those polled said they would spend Easter with their Polish friends, the authors of the study, the EWL Migration Platform and the University of Warsaw's Centre for East European Studies, said.

They added that "this demonstrates the deepening ties between the two neighbouring nations, as well as their cultural proximity."

Andrzej Korkus, CEO of the EWL Migration Platform, said: "This proves that Poles and Ukrainians establish relationships based on mutual respect and understanding very quickly. That is why it is so important that this Easter time should become an opportunity to open ourselves to meeting and talking together, to understanding the emotions and feelings accompanying the Ukrainian guests."

Western and Eastern Easter

The survey also found that 36 percent of Ukrainian war refugees staying in Poland were planning to celebrate Easter this year "according to the Eastern calendar" on April 16. Meanwhile, 20 percent of respondents said they would observe Easter "according to the Western calendar" on April 9, and 23 percent said they would celebrate "based on both calendars," reflecting an ongoing debate in Ukraine "about abandoning the Eastern calendar in favour of that used by the Catholic Church," the survey's authors said.

"After the Russian aggression, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine allowed its faithful to celebrate religious holidays according to the Western calendar," said Jan Malicki, director of the University of Warsaw Centre for East European Studies.

"Given the fact that over 40 percent of refugees residing in Poland wish to celebrate Easter according to the Western calendar, I believe that the day will soon come when Ukrainians and Poles can celebrate religious holidays on the same day, at the same table as one symbolic community," he added.

The War Refugees from Ukraine: Easter in Poland survey was conducted from March 23 to 28 in various cities and regions of Poland, including Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław and Gdańsk.

The survey included 400 Ukrainian citizens who arrived in Poland after February 24, 2022 due to the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the EWL Migration Platform and the Centre for East European Studies said.

81% of Poles in favour of accepting refugees from Ukraine

Eighty-one percent of Poles are in favour of accepting refugees from war-torn Ukraine, according to a separate recent survey.

The Polish Border Guard agency reported on Friday that more than 10.9 million people have crossed into Poland from Ukraine since Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24, 2022.

Meanwhile, over 9.1 million people have left Poland for Ukraine since the start of the war, the agency also said.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Thursday that the country "is currently home to an estimated 3 million Ukrainians,” including those who arrived before the war.

The Polish presidential office said last month that around 1.3 million war refugees from Ukraine were staying in Poland after many who had fled Russia's invasion moved on to other countries or decided to return to Ukraine.

In March last year, Poland enacted a measure to offer wide-ranging support to Ukrainians escaping the Russian invasion of their country.

The measure grants them residence rights and ensures access to educationhealthcare and social benefits.

Friday is day 408 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: EWL Group