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15 Aug, 2022 17:19

Poland reveals number of crossings from Ukraine

More than 5.5 million people have crossed the country's border since the beginning of the Russian military offensive 
Poland reveals number of crossings from Ukraine

Over 5 million people have crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland since Russia launched its operation in the neighboring country, the Polish Border Guard reported on Monday. 

The agency said on Twitter that “since February 24, the border guards have checked 5.519 million people who crossed the border from Ukraine to Poland.” Just last Sunday alone, 24,300 crossings were recorded, the agency added. 

The number of crossings in the other direction – from Poland into Ukraine – since the start of the conflict is approaching 3.7 million, according to the data. Most of those represent people coming back to areas considered safe, or those who didn't managed to settle abroad, media reports indicate. 

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) provides slightly smaller but comparable figures of just over 5.2 million crossings from Ukraine into Poland and a little more than 3.2 million crossings from Poland into Ukraine. 

In March, Warsaw provided Ukrainian nationals with the right to stay legally in the country for 18 months. Nearly 1.3 million Ukrainians have been granted temporary residency status in Poland – more than in any other Western country, the UNHCR statistics show.  

However, given the large influx of refugees, Poland stopped providing financial aid to most Ukrainians last month. Deputy Interior Minister Pawel Szefernaker explained the move by saying that “many people in Poland are able to become independent and adapt.” 

Meanwhile, according to a think tank called the Polish Economic Institute, the volume of aid provided by individual Poles to Ukrainian refugees has been decreasing since the first weeks of the military conflict, though it has “remained relatively high.” 

“The largest decrease concerned the two most popular categories of aid. Right after the start of the war, 51% of Poles bought items for refugees; after two months, this has decreased to 39%. At the beginning, 46% of Poles made cash donations; this then dropped to 33%,” the think tank said in a July report. 

Nevertheless, in the period between the end of February and the end of June, Poles donated almost 10 billion zlotys ($2 billion) to help Ukrainians. This amount surpasses their charitable contributions for the whole of 2021, according to the report. 

Earlier in August, the European Commission agreed to provide more than €31 ($31.6) million “to support people fleeing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and for the economic recovery of four Polish regions” through its REACT-EU program.