Cyprus hosts 15,000 Ukrainian refugees

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Some 15,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing from Russia’s invasion have found refuge in Cyprus, with migrant flows from the conflict continuing.

Since the start of the war on 24 February and up until the beginning of May, around 14,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived on the island, with another thousand estimated to have come in the past few weeks.

Most Ukrainian refugees headed for Cyprus to be reunited with family among the 5,000 expats already living on the island.

Some of the refugees have left the country after two to three months, bound for other EU destinations which border Ukraine, like Poland.

Brussels is creating an online database accessible to all member states with the details of all Ukrainian refugees seeking protection within the EU.

The Cyprus Asylum service said that Ukrainian refugees must remain in the country where they apply for protection and financial help.

Ukrainian refugees are given a lump sum of €350 on their arrival, while they are issued a card giving them a 12-month right to residence, free food, education, healthcare, and employment.

Cyprus authorities have also launched a call centre for Ukrainian refugees who may be unaware of the services available to them, such as accommodation, education, and medical care.

More than 6.5 million Ukrainians have become refugees and moved to neighbouring countries since Russia invaded Ukraine, the UN Refugee Agency estimates.

More than 3.5 million of those refugees have relocated to Poland.

“The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance.

“In the first five weeks, more than four million refugees from Ukraine crossed borders into neighbouring countries, and many more have been forced to move inside the country,” the agency said.