After the Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine, one of the largest refugee crises in recent memory has strained the resources and manpower of the European Union (EU). An estimated 1 million refugees are arriving in EU countries, such as Poland, Romania, and Germany. Some countries, like the United Kingdom, have flown in Ukrainian refugees to begin a new life far from war.
The United Nations estimated that the number of refugees fleeing the Ukrainian war could be as much as 4 million people as the war drags on.
The total population of Ukraine before the war was over 44 million people. But one cannot disregard how the population numbers will be affected by Russia’s punitive missile and bomb strikes on civilian, non-military targets such as shopping malls, hospitals, and apartment buildings.
One estimate by the United Nations placed the civilian death toll at 902 with 1,459 wounded, though it admitted that the real number is “considerably higher” due to lack of accurate information.
Images of lines of cars and trucks going on for miles became ingrained in the world’s consciousness, with photographs and videos of Ukrainians traveling with reusable grocery bags packed with belongings, some with suitcases, and many wishing that the war would come to a quick conclusion.
Ukraine’s neighbors, such as Poland, Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania, are facing the brunt of the refugee crisis. Poland tries to process the refugees at its border, then moves them to another location via buses. It is unclear how the other neighbors are faring in this situation, but the situation is somewhat alleviated with the influx of humanitarian aid and workers to assist these countries’ border guards.
Another issue facing Ukrainians fleeing the war is the lack of properly-maintained humanitarian corridors in besieged cities at the frontlines of the war. Ukraine and Russia have failed to come to a consensus on enforcing a ceasefire to let aid workers, who have medical supplies and food, to travel to the besieged civilians to treat them and evacuate them. At least one attempt of establishing this corridor in Mariupol, for example, was not respected by Russia’s military and resulted in the aid workers canceling their trip.
The U.S. is used to immigration or border crises, especially after enduring the Obama and the (current) Biden administrations. But unlike Europe, most of the alleged refugees are economically-motivated due to the poor state of Central and South American countries. It is not due to armed conflict or an invasion by an aggressor.
By comparison, the Biden administration has let in about 2 million illegal immigrants through the U.S.-Mexico border. The House GOP’s estimate pointed out that Biden’s lax border policies has led to significant increases in apprehended illegal immigrants and a huge decrease in deportations.
Yet much of the media attention is on Ukraine and consistently ignored the border crisis. Nothing is said about the many implications of letting in 2 million non-citizens, which could tax and overwhelm the country’s health care system, welfare system, and change electoral politics for generations.
As for Ukraine’s refugees, it could be a long wait for the war’s end because neither side has come to an agreement on fair terms to end the conflict.