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Germany to host Ukraine refugees of all nationalities

March 6, 2022

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has said nationality would not play a role in Germany's decision to host refugees fleeing Ukraine. More than a million people have left Ukraine for neighboring European countries.

Refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine rest at Berlin central station
Refugees have been resting at Berlin's central train stationImage: Filip Singer/EPA-EFE

Germany would take refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine no matter what their nationality, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told the weekly Bild am Sonntag.

"We want to save lives. That doesn't depend on the passport," Faeser told the German newspaper.

More than a million people from Ukraine have crossed into neighboring countries, the United Nations said Thursday. That number is expected to reach 1.5 million on Sunday. 

So far, about 787, 300 people have fled to Poland and around 30,000 to Germany, according to Polish and German authorities. 

Faeser's statement came amid reports, including from the United Nations, that non-white people have faced racist and xenophobic treatment while trying to flee Ukraine. 

Jewish refugee children arrive in Berlin

What did Faeser say?

"The vast majority of those who have fled are Ukrainian nationals. People from other countries who already had a permanent right of residence in Ukraine bring this status with them," Faeser said. 

She explained that people fleeing Ukraine would not have to go through a complex asylum procedure, and said the current cooperation among European nations to ensure safety and security of Ukrainians was "historic."

Ukranian residents flee to Poland

The European Union on March 3 agreed to approve temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees, while US President Joe Biden's administration has also granted temporary protection to Ukrainians in the country.

The European Union directive does not cover students and foreign nationals, many of whom have now safely reached their home country.

The condition at the border appears to have eased somewhat since the first wave of refugees fled Ukraine early last week, DW's Frank Hoffman reported from a border checkpoint into Poland.

Pressure eases at some EU-Ukraine crossings

Long traffic jams have shrunk and more people have been able to quickly enter neighboring countries, Hoffman said. 

Still, families remain separated, with people still taking shelter in shopping malls that have been turned into welcome centers in Poland, for example. 

In Berlin, with state centers already up to capacity, hotel rooms and churches have been converted into shelters for those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

DW's Max Zander describes refugee situation in Poland

rm/sms (DPA, AFP, Reuters)

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