Thursday, August 25, 2022

Ukrainians in Czechland

Even prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there has always been a large Ukrainian population here in Czechland.  Ukrainians are the largest foreign minority, making up over 30% foreigners living in Czechland.  I hear that labour migration from Ukraine to Czechoslovakia began in the early 1990s.  Ukrainians are also the largest minority group in Slovakia.  

I've joked before that with so many Ukrainians here, I should call it Czechkraine instead of Czechland.  It's been a term of endearment but given the war it doesn't seem right to say.

Russia's invasion has caused the largest refugee crisis in Europe since WWII, the largest since the Yugoslav Wars during the 1990s, and the 4th largest refugee crisis in history.  Most Ukrainian refugees fled to neighbouring countries - Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, and even Russia.

While more refugees are in Poland and Germany, Czechland has taken in the highest number of refugees per capita of any country, more than 400,000, mostly women and children.

Recently, the Interior Ministry hung a banner of Putin in a casket, flanked by Czech and Ukrainian flags.  It's pretty obvious on which side the Czechs stand.

The European Union has removed many of the barriers that refugees usually face.  For Ukrainians fleeing the war, there are residency rights, work permits, access to health care, schools, housing and banking services.

Я за Україну. Я за Україною. Слава Україні  Stojím za Ukrajinou!  I stand with Ukraine. 🇺🇦

Update:  As of January 2023, more than 475,000 Ukrainian refugees have sought asylum in Czechland.  The Senate has extended temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees until 31 March 2024.

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