Protesters against the the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Berlin, 26 February/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Ukraine: Germany accepts refugees regardless of nationality

Federal Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser, has assured that Germany will accept all refugees from Ukraine regardless of their nationality. “We want to save lives. That does not depend on passport,” Faeser told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, referring to the increasing number of people coming to Germany from Ukraine.

Faeser said that the vast majority of the refugees who have arrived in Germany were Ukrainians. “People from other countries who already had a permanent right of residence in Ukraine bring this status with them,” she explained: “They also do not have to go through a complex asylum procedure.”

Refugees without a right of residence in Ukraine could apply for asylum and thus receive protection in the EU, Ms Faeser added. “These should only be a few cases.”

Regarding the situation at the borders, Faeser said that the Federal Police had intensified controls. “This also allows us to register people more quickly. But one thing is also clear: now we want to help quickly and unbureaucratically.”

Following a meeting in Brussels on Thursday, the interior ministers of European Union’s member states unanimously agreed on a scheme to provide temporary protection to people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Under the scheme, called the “Temporary Protection Directive”, refugees will have the right to live and work in the European Union for at least one year, a period that can be extended for additional two years.

READ ALSO EU agrees on protection scheme for refugees from Ukraine

Since the beginning of the Russian attack on 24 February, more than 1.5 million people have already fled the country, according to the United Nations. This is the fastest escalating displacement crisis in Europe since the Second World War, said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

Femi Awoniyi

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