The mass evacuation of Ukrainians poses a risk to neighboring countries resources reminiscent of 2016’s European refugee crisis.
US intelligence agencies estimate that anywhere from 1 million to 5 million Ukrainians could be evacuated as Russian forces siege the country.
“It is unlikely these nations could successfully support a surge of millions of refugees without the support of the U.S. and the wider international community,” Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, which resettles refugees, told The Hill.
Neighboring countries have pledged to accept limited numbers of refugees. Romania will accept up to 500,000; Hungary is preparing for tens of thousands; Moldova has pledged to simply keep its borders open; Poland, the most likely destination, has pledged to take one million refugees despite its own resources suggesting it can offer fewer than 1000 spots.
“This reality is likely a significant driver of the U.N.’s appeal for $190 million in humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians,” Vignarajah said.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the US is prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees, but that most will want to go to countries in Europe.