WARSAW – Ukraine’s ambassador to neighboring Poland says that his nation is grateful for the reception given by Poles to millions of Ukrainian refugees, but hopes that the European Union will soon release billions of euros to Poland so that aid does not come “at the cost of the Polish people.”
Ambassador Andrei Deszczyca said that although there had been no real social tensions in the three months since Ukrainians began arriving in Poland in search of security, he was worried they might appear in the future, given Poland’s much help.
The government has provided Ukrainians with free health care, education and other social services, while more than 80% of them are in private Polish homes. Deszczyca noted that Russia’s disinformation efforts on the Internet include spreading the message that Ukrainians are treated better than Poles themselves, and that although these efforts have not yet found fertile ground, he is concerned that problems may arise.
“I am worried because I do not know where the limits of this hospitality, the hospitality of the Polish people,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press on Friday. – This is a warm and healthy reception. But how long can they keep them? And for me it is clear, and for my compatriots too. They understand that there are some limits. “
The solution, he said, is for the EU to allocate billions of euros to a pandemic recovery package. It would also have the advantage of preventing a big wave of disappointment for Ukrainians in Poland and sending them to other EU countries, he argued.
While most of the bloc’s 27 members have received funds to help countries recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, 36 billion euros earmarked for Poland have been blocked in a dispute over changes to courts seen as erosion. democratic standards.
The main contentious point is the disciplinary chamber in the Supreme Court, which has become a way for Poland’s ruling conservative authorities to dismiss judges whose decisions they do not like. The EU Commission wants to abolish the chamber and reinstate suspended judges, which Poland has failed to do. A debate on resolving the crisis over the House is due to take place in parliament next week.
Deszczyca said he wanted both sides to seek a compromise, and that he called on both the EU and Poland to make it happen.
“Poland has proved how effectively it can manage this wave of migrants, how effectively they know how to use their own budget money and how effectively they can help migrants,” he said. Poles living in Poland. And we will get out of the possible tension. “
Deszczyca believes that now in Poland from 3 to 4 million Ukrainians, of whom about 1.5 million have already worked, studied and lived in Poland before the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the rest have arrived since then. In a country with a population of 38 million, this means that Ukrainians now make up about 10% of the population.
How much will remain is unclear, and will be determined by how long the war will last.
Since the beginning of the war, the Polish Border Protection Agency has registered about 3.5 million crossings from Ukraine to Poland and more than 1.4 million abroad. Of those who arrived in Poland, some went to other countries, but a large percentage chose to stay in Poland, where many have friends or family and share cultural and linguistic ties with Poles. Many also want to stay close to Ukraine, hoping to return.
The ambassador said Ukrainians often asked him if he could return now that Russian forces had been driven out of the area around Kyiv and some other parts of the country. He has no good answer.
“It is very difficult to say whether to return home or not, as the situation is still unstable. So I could encourage you to Lions, which is far from the front line. But in one day Lviv can be bombed, as it was two or three days ago, and a rocket can come to you or your car, ”he said.
Poland and Ukraine have seen that their relations in the past have been strained due to continuing tensions around ethnic bloodshed in the 20th century. The ambassador says it has “changed dramatically” as the Russian threat unites Poles and Ukrainians.
As one of the signs of support for Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and President Andrzej Duda will step up their lobbying for the EU to grant Ukraine EU candidate status at the June 23-24 summit.
Since the beginning of the war, the ambassador says that he is often stopped on the street by people who thank Ukraine for its resistance to Russia. He says he is told: “You are fighting for your and our freedom… we will support you for as long as necessary.”
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