The physical, psychological, and material well-being of all displaced people in Ukraine is jeopardized by the Ukrainian refugee crisis. Despite widespread support for Ukrainians and widespread criticism of Russia’s invasion, the crisis’s economic strains, security issues, and domestic political tensions are expected to have a significant impact on regional governments’ actions and national interests.

Due to a lack of measures that would help successfully manage migration and the growth of xenophobia and identity politics in many member states, the EU, which was already coping with numerous other refugee crises, notably those from Afghanistan and Syria, was unprepared for Ukrainian refugees.

Due to Russia’s invasion, more than 11 million people, or one-quarter of Ukraine’s entire population, had fled their homes as of May 2. Since the invasion began on February 24th, more than 5.5 million people, mostly women and children, have fled their homeland and become refugees, UNHCR data shows.

The above numbers does not include male citizens of Ukraine as martial law in Ukraine prevents men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the territory, separating families and affecting men with disabilities, parents with sole responsibility for their children, and the elderly. Some males with impairments who have specific documents have been allowed to leave the country, although they have frequently been denied.

Since the Russian invasion, there has been a groundswell of support, particularly from the EU, for Ukrainian refugees fleeing abroad, which promptly granted Ukrainians escaping the war the right to stay and work across the EU’s 27 member states for up to three years. Ukrainian refugees are making their way to western bordering nations like Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, and Moldova. Due to the economic imbalances and a lack of legal mechanisms and social services, many of these countries are vulnerable to Russian provocation, and some are, in fact, unprepared to deal with large-scale refugee influxes.

For the first time, the EU invoked a 2001 Temporary Protection Directive across member states, allowing refugees to stay, work, and enroll their children in school without the formalities and bureaucracy of the typical asylum process. The United States has stated that it will accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and will provide $1 billion in humanitarian help to European countries that are hosting them.

On-the-ground employment companies and a massive network of online job boards that have cropped up throughout social media are offering tens of thousands of jobs specifically to Ukrainian migrants. Refugees can find work in a variety of fields, from high-level engineering to retail and manufacturing work.

The United States can play a crucial role by successfully collaborating with its friends and humanitarian partners to guarantee that an oversight mechanism is in place to facilitate the safe transit of civilians through designated, existing humanitarian corridors from conflict areas. If the situation in Ukraine remains unstable, refugees will be forced to relocate in their new towns, extending their time as migrants.

However, the geographical proximity and cultural affinity explain some of the EU’s approach to Ukrainians over those from other parts of the world, the EU’s migration and refugee rules have disproportionately penalized Black and brown people. In comparison to migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, there are clear discriminatory differences in the treatment of Ukrainians.

Author

  • Saqalain Eqbal is a senior law student at The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). He is very interested in reflecting the voice of his peers and people. He is currently working at the State Ministry for Peace and also serves as the President of Law Students Association at AUAF.