EU rejects claims of discrimination as foreigners flee Ukraine
What you need to know:
- The statement came amid widespread complaints by Africans seeking to leave Ukraine. They have complained of discrimination or being put at the back of queues to be cleared to leave.
The European Union says member states bordering troubled Ukraine have given unfettered welcome to all foreigners fleeing the war, rejecting claims of discrimination.
A statement from the EU Delegation in Kenya on Wednesday said the countries close to Ukraine such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania immediately lifted immigration requirements for Ukrainians and other nationals escaping Ukraine, including Kenyans.
“The usual entry requirements have been waived. No visa, no vaccination, and even no passport is needed for entry. Other EU Member States are preparing to host millions of refugees leaving Ukraine due to the Russian invasion,” the statement said, indicating the countries have already taken in 7,721 Africans fleeing violence.
“Contrary to some media reports, those Kenyans who have arrived at the borders have been assisted and allowed to enter safely into EU Member States: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.”
The statement came amid widespread complaints by Africans seeking to leave Ukraine. They have complained of discrimination or being put at the back of queues to be cleared to leave.
The EU says 350,000 people crossed bordered into the bloc in four days after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
“Within the last four days more than 4,150 people from 40 African countries were able to flee from the invasion into Slovakia. Likewise, Romania and Hungary have exempted third party nationals from visa requirements for transit purposes, and those nevertheless seeking visas could obtain them at the border points.”
The EU regrets the incorrect and skewed media reporting on this issue that has repeatedly appeared in various Kenyan outlets and social media, and calls for careful verification of the facts. Given that in some cases deliberate disinformation is being spread, the EU embassies in Kenya are ready to provide accurate data.
Hosting 500,000 refugees
Overall, the EU says it is hosting over 500,000 refugees already and said it was responding to requests from African countries to provide temporary shelter and passage for their nationals. Germany announced on Wednesday it was applying “unbureacratic” processes to clear refugees to enter its territory, and termed incidents of racism as isolated cases not the policy of the EU.
On Tuesday, Kenya said it had secured easier passage for stranded nationals in Ukraine, indicating partial reprieve for those struggling to exit the troubled eastern European country.
A statement issued by the Kenyan Foreign Affairs ministry said the country had negotiated for temporary permission for Kenyans to enter Ukraine’s neighbouring EU members.
“The government negotiated for unrestricted entry of Kenyans into the neighbouring EU states, a request that was honoured by Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania that Kenyans cross their borders via simplified procedure.”
Kenya said it had evacuated 74 students from Ukraine, of the more than 200 nationals who had been living in the country.