Researcher Warns Nordic Countries of Refugee Flow From 'Migrant Nation' Ukraine
Over the past several months, the West and Kiev have accused Russia of a troop buildup near the Ukrainian border in preparation for an alleged "invasion" and "war". Moscow has swatted these allegations as baseless, while expressing strong concerns over NATO's military activity near Russia's borders, which it calls a threat to its national security.
Norway and other Nordic countries must stay prepared for an influx of Ukrainian refugees in case of war, previously described as imminent, researcher Jakub Godzimirski of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs has warned.
A "possible" war between Russia and Ukraine could trigger a major refugee crisis in Europe, Godzimirski told
the newspaper Vårt Land
. While nearby nations such as Poland, Romania, and Slovakia will bear the brunt of the migrant crisis and are already preparing to receive thousands of refugees, Norway and other Scandinavian nations must also prepare for more refugees as a result of a war, Godzimirski said.
"We have to count with that. Norway is known for being a good country to live in. People on the run seek protection firstly, a safe country, such as Poland and Slovakia. But Ukrainian refugees will also come to the Nordic countries and other European countries as well", Godzimirski told Vårt Land.
Godzimirski argued that the refugee situation in Ukraine has been undercommunicated in the media coverage of a possible war. Hundreds of thousands have already fled the conflict in eastern Ukraine. In addition, Ukraine is a migrant nation, he pointed out, stressing that several million Ukrainians work across Europe ranging from neighbouring Poland to faraway Portugal.
Godzimirski ventured that Ukrainian refugees in Europe will be met with less scepticism than what Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees experienced in 2015 due to cultural proximity.
"Many European countries will also feel complicity because diplomacy failed to stop the conflict until it was too late", Godzimirski ventured.
Norway's Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt of the Labour Party said the government was preparing for various scenarios, such as a refugee crisis or energy crisis, but argued that it was too early to say anything concrete about what will happen in the future, national broadcaster NRK reported.
Huitfeldt emphasised that Norway will continue to support Ukraine and that the authorities are now looking at how they can provide aid. Since Norway doesn't provide military support to countries at risk of war, this options has been firmly ruled out.
As the West in unison condemned Russia's buildup of troops and materiel near Ukraine's border and baselessly frothed over an "imminent" war, naming one failed deadline after another, Moscow firmly defended its right to redeploy troops within its own territory as it pleases and repeatedly denied
plotting to invade Ukraine.