Forget Syria, Europe’s next massive wave of refugees could come from Ukraine.
Ukraine is plagued by a collapsing economy and torn apart by a months-long civil war that has left some 2 million people displaced. These are the ingredients of what could turn into a demographic and humanitarian disaster: like other countries facing similar challenges, Ukraine could see a massive outflow of its citizens.
Those who settled in Western Ukraine might well flee to Europe, which is increasingly overburdened with migrants from the Middle East and Africa, Die Welt asserted. The latest developments show that the continent is ill-prepared to deal with an ever-increasing number of refugees and it might be unaware that the new wave could come from a neighboring country.
In an age of a short attention span, a new crisis often erases the memory of what had happened weeks or months earlier, Germany’s national daily noted. This is true of both ordinary people and policymakers.
Migrants from the Greater Middle East are making headlines these days like a possible Grexit did a month ago. Earlier this year, the war in Ukraine was on everyone’s mind. But “the world has forgotten this war because there are more pressing issues,” Die Welt observed.
A massive wave of Ukrainian refugees could jog Europe’s memory.
“Approximately 2 million people have fled their homes. Some 600,000 people went to Russia while 1.4 million are internal refugees living in Western Ukraine. The question is how long these and other Ukrainians will remain there?” the newspaper asked.
Like many in the West and mainstream media in particular, Die Welt blamed Russia for Ukraine’s internal troubles, although Moscow has repeatedly refuted these groundless allegations and insisted that it is not a party to the conflict.
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Russia has been persistent in its efforts to help those suffering in Eastern Ukraine. The country is sending large amounts of humanitarian aid on a regular basis and has taken in the largest number of refugees, more in fact than the German daily estimates.
According to the head of Russia’s Federal Migration Service, more than 1 million people fled to Russia following the outbreak of the civil war in Ukraine. Approximately 600,000 of those decided to settle in their new home permanently.