Increasing tensions between Russia and Ukraine and fears of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine have led to the latter’s neighboring countries preparing to receive a large number of refugees.
In particular, Poland has prepared for several scenarios if the situation between the two countries deteriorates, TheSchengen.com reports.
In this regard, Deputy Interior Minister Macyj Wosik stressed that the country should be prepared to receive one million refugees from Ukraine.
“We have to be prepared for a wave of up to one million people,” the minister told Polish radio, as reported by The Guardian.
Recently, the mayor of Ciechanów, Krzysztof Kosiński, stressed that authorities had urged the buildings with a recommendation of up to 48 hours.”
Currently, a large number of people in eastern Ukraine have left the country amid rising tensions between Russia and Belarus.
Ukraine’s Finance Minister, Serhiy Marchenko, said that after the country concluded a visa-free travel agreement with Europe, people who wanted to leave the country did so already.
“If Russia escalates and people decide to go to Europe to find a safer place, it will probably be a smaller segment of people,” Marchenko explained.
Besides Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are also preparing for an influx of migrants from Ukraine in the event of a possible war.
Some estimate that as many as five million people could leave the country in the worst case scenario, Al Jazeera reported.
The same source shows that in 2015, the number of Ukrainians who arrived in Poland for work purposes increased from nearly 200,000 to more than 800,000.
In 2015, the number of Ukrainians in the Czech Republic was more than 130,000. In addition, the data revealed that during the same year, the number of applications for long-term residence increased by at least 5 percent.
A possible invasion of Russia in Ukraine has raised concerns among European airlines.
The government of Ukraine recently announced that a total of ten European airlines have temporarily suspended or canceled flights to this country.
The national carrier of Austria, Austrian Airlines, German national carrier Lufthansa and Swiss Airlines are the latest airlines to suspend flights to Kiev and the Black Sea city of Odessa.
Authorities in the United States said that more than 190,000 Russian and separatist soldiers are stationed near the Ukrainian border, ready to launch an offensive.
The current situation between Russia and Ukraine has prompted some European countries to advise their citizens not to travel to the latter, including Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and France.