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Kiev to fight assimilation of its citizens abroad – FM

Ensuring that refugees “remain Ukrainian” is a priority for the government, Dmitry Kuleba has said

Kiev is concerned about Ukrainians living abroad integrating into the societies of their host countries too fast, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told a forum in Kiev on Friday.

Keeping their compatriots living abroad from assimilating is now one of the top priorities of Ukrainian diplomacy, he said.

According to Ukrainian media outlets, nearly 5 million people who fled Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict were still living abroad as of January 2024, mostly in Germany and Poland. According to the outlets, up to 2.3 million of these émigrés might never return home.

“It has become clear that assimilation would be extremely fast if we do not change our policy towards Ukrainians abroad,” Kuleba said. The minister also admitted that he did not believe that “most Ukrainians who left would return.” He also maintained that the authorities should “work” with those living abroad for them to “remain Ukrainian.”

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Most Germans believe Ukrainian refugees have failed to integrate – poll

Kiev’s top diplomat provided few details about the “comprehensive policy” his ministry was supposedly developing to achieve this goal. The list of measures mentioned by Kuleba involved “multiple citizenship” and closer cooperation with organized Ukrainian communities abroad, as well as digital consular services.

The minister stated that his agency had already done some “groundwork” in response to a personal request by President Vladimir Zelensky and was planning to present its proposals to the head of state in the near future. “The president has set the goal,” Kuleba said, adding that it would require coordination among various government structures due to its “complex” nature.

A survey conducted by Germany’s office for migration and refugees (BAMF) in cooperation with several research and polling centers last July showed that some 44% of Ukrainians who came to Germany as refugees want to stay there. This number represents an increase over the 39% who claimed they sought to remain in Germany in a poll carried out the previous year.

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FILE PHOTO. Refugees from Ukraine are seen walking on the platform upon their arrival by train from Odessa at the railway station in Przemysl, southeastern Poland.
Attitude to Ukrainians shifting dramatically in Poland – survey

Meanwhile, a separate poll from this past February showed that Germans themselves believe that Ukrainians had failed to integrate over the two years that had passed since the start of the conflict. Half of the respondents also said at the time that Ukrainian refugees received “too much support.”

Attitudes toward Ukrainians in Poland, another country that took in a large number of refugees, have also dramatically shifted, local media reported in February. A significant number of Poles are now opposed to Ukrainians continuing to receive various social and welfare benefits, the newspaper Rzeczpospolita said, citing a January poll.

The same media outlet also earlier reported that that the influx of Ukrainians fleeing the conflict had led to an increase in crime in Poland.

April 13, 2024 at 12:14AM

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