With the right support, Ukrainians are ready to return, even to new parts of the country where they've never lived.
After Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, millions of Ukrainians fled their homes and went abroad. Many remain outside Ukraine. The Center for Economic Strategy and the Info Sapiens research agency surveyed these Ukrainian war refugees to learn more about who they are and how they feel about going home.
According to the survey, half of Ukrainians who went abroad are children. Among adults, most (83%) are women, and most (42%) are aged 35-49.
Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.
Most Ukrainian refugees have lost their income due to the war: 12% do not have enough money to buy food, and 28% have enough only for food.
The overwhelming majority of adult refugees (70%) have higher education. This figure is much higher than the share of people with higher education in Ukraine (29%) and the EU (33%).
The majority of Ukrainian refugees reside in Poland (38%), Germany (20%), the Czech Republic (12%), and Italy (6%). In these countries, they can obtain temporary protection, giving them the right to stay, work, and access healthcare and education systems.
However, each country independently decides what social benefits and privileges to provide to Ukrainians and how to adapt them to live in society.
The most generous social benefits are in Germany: Ukrainians can receive monthly unemployment benefits (about 400 euros), additional payments for children (285-376 euros per month, depending on the child's age), and rental subsidies.
The only type of regular assistance in Poland is child benefits (approximately 100 euros per month).
In the Czech Republic, Ukrainians can only receive a one-time allowance (about 200 euros). In Italy, the assistance is 300 euros per month and is paid for three months.
As a result, 56% of Ukrainians in Poland and 50% in Italy lack funds for basic needs. In Germany, 76% of Ukrainians have enough money to meet their basic needs.
Different country policies lead to varying adaptations of Ukrainians to the labor market. Only 15% of refugees are employed in Germany, and in Italy - 12%. In Poland, 41% of Ukrainians are employed, and in the Czech Republic - 47%.
In Germany, the low percentage of employed refugees is related to government policy: Ukrainians are encouraged to take language courses before looking for work. In Italy, this figure is related to high unemployment and the need to provide documents confirming language skills and qualifications.
May 2022, Kyiv, Ukraine: Cyclists ride past a residential building with a mural depicting ''Saint Javelin''.
Half of Ukrainians "definitely plan" to return home, while 24% would prefer to return. But the longer the war lasts, the more people will adapt to life abroad and not return to Ukraine.
The main incentives for returning are the war's end (51%) and the absence of fighting and air strikes in their home region (34%).
Economic factors are also important: the opportunity to find a high-paying job (28%) and a higher standard of living in Ukraine (20%).
At the same time, adult refugees may return to Ukraine, while their children of senior school age will remain abroad. Overall, 40% of refugees want their children to study overseas.
The demographic situation in Ukraine was difficult even before the war, with an aging population and not enough births to keep up with the country's mortality rate. The non-return of many refugees with higher education and their children significantly threatens the economy. According to the survey, the annual losses of the Ukrainian economy from the non-return of refugees will likely range from 2.6% to 7.7% of pre-war GDP.
The sooner the war is over, the more Ukrainians will return home, benefiting the Ukrainian and European economies.
Ukraine’s case for pursuing Russia and its leadership for war crimes now includes Moscow’s current strategy of trying to cut off energy supplies to Ukrainian civilians by destroying the country’s power grid. Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Andriy Kostin told the BBC that strikes on key energy infrastructure targeted "the full Ukrainian nation," which fall under the purview of attempted genocide.
Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.
In contrast to other war crimes, genocide is the intention to physically destroy members of a particular population group or ethnicity. Kostin says the evidence of genocide against Russia has already included its forcibly taking Ukrainian children to Russia and giving them for adoption to Russian families; organizing so-called “filtration camps,” torturing and killing civilians — and now Moscow’s waging war against the entire population of Ukraine by trying to deprive millions of light, heat, and water in the winter.
Emergency power cuts continue throughout the country Monday, with the situation aggravated by the onset of winter: Nighttime temperatures have dropped to -8 °C, and -5 °C during the day.
Kostin said that since the beginning of the war, approximately 11,000 Ukrainian children had been forcibly deported to Russia. His office was investigating reports of more than 49,000 war crimes and crimes of aggression since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24.
Yevheniy Yenin, First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, also cites data on the massive abuse of civilians on the territory of Ukraine. "We continue to find bodies with signs of violent death, and there are many of them. These are broken ribs, broken heads, men with tied hands, fractured jaws, cut-off genitals," said Yenin.
Ukrainian officials say that since the beginning of the war, more than 32,000 civilian buildings have been deliberately targeted by the Russian army. Over the past day, missile attacks aimed at residential infrastructure hit targets in the Sumy, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk, and Mykolaiv regions.
In the past 24 hours, the recently liberated city of Kherson has been struck by Russian missiles 30 times, reports Yaroslav Yanushevich, the governor of the Kherson region wrote this morning on Telegram. At least one person has been killed in the shelling.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Ukrainians fled Kherson on Sunday to escape Russian shelling. This comes two weeks after its recapture from Russian occupying forces. Evacuations began last week amid fears that damage to infrastructure caused by the war was too severe for people to endure over Ukraine’s harsh winter.
The reasons for the continuous shelling on Kherson are not clear. According to The Guardian Russia is either trying to consolidate its defensive positions across the Dnipro and prevent the Ukrainians from attempting a new attack, or Moscow is trying to retake the city. Others contend it is simply revenge after Russia lost the only regional capital it had conquered since the invasion began.
Russian Moms Launch Anti-War Petition On Russian Mother’s Day
Putin Meets With Special Military Operation Servicemen Mothers
A group of mothers of Russian soldiers joined an activist group demanding the withdrawal of Moscow’s troops from Ukraine as they launched an online petition Sunday. Organized by the Russian Feminist Anti-War Resistance group, chose Mother’s Day in Russia to launch the petition on change.org, addressed to the State Duma and the Federation Council.
"Everything that happens in Ukraine and Russia worries our hearts. Regardless of what nationality, religion or social status we are, we — the mothers of Russia — are united by one desire: to live in peace and harmony, raise our children under a peaceful sky and not be afraid for their future,” reads the petition. "We are against the participation of our sons, brothers, husbands, fathers in this. Your duty is to protect the rights and freedoms of mothers and children, you should not turn a blind eye to all this."
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin used Mother’s Day to meet with a handpicked selection of mothers of soldiers fighting in Ukraine for a carefully staged meeting. This comes after dozens of mothers have gone public in saying they were snubbed by the Kremlin. Putin sat down with a former government official, the mother of a senior military and police official from Chechnya, and other women active in pro-war NGOs financed by the state. None of these mothers have been critical about the war.
“It is clear that life is more complicated and diverse than what is shown on TV screens or even on the internet — you can’t trust anything there at all, there are a lot of all sorts of fakes, deception, lies,” Putin told the women.
U.S. May Supply Ukraine With Cheap Boeing-Made Bombs
The Pentagon is considering a Boeing proposal to supply Ukraine with cheap, small precision bombs fitted into abundantly available rockets, which would allow Kyiv to strike far behind Russian lines, according to a Reuters report.
The West is currently struggling to meet Ukraine’s demands for more weapons, with U.S. and European military inventories low, and Ukraine faced with an growing need for more sophisticated weapons as the war rages on. The invasion of Ukraine drove up demand for American-made weapons and ammunition, while U.S. allies in Eastern Europe are "putting a lot of orders," in for a range of arms as they supply Ukraine, Doug Bush, the U.S. Army's chief weapons buyer, told reporters.
Ukraine Still Playing Catch-Up In Drone War
French daily Le Monde is reporting on the ground in Bakhmut, a small town in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas that is now one of the centers of the Kremlin’s attention.
There, Ukrainian forces are increasingly relying on drones to monitor the situation on the frontlines and coordinate their military strategy — but are facing problems on three major fronts:
- icy rains that have prevented the drones from taking off;
- power outages that cut communication between the “birds” and their operators;
- and more importantly, the general state of the Ukrainian army’s drone fleet, either crowdfunded by the Ukrainian authorities or relying on private donations.
The increasingly crucial role played by drone reconnaissance in the conflict leads Ukrainian outlet Livy Bereg to write that “a new front is opening in the rear — an industrial front, a production front.” And as the daily laments, Kyiv’s drone situation is “is still as shameful as it was at the beginning of the [...] invasion,” in comparison with its Russian adversary.
Instead of buying expensive, Chinese-made drones, Livy Bereg continues, Ukraine should focus on the domestic production of more efficient and cheaper devices.
Number Of Ukrainian Refugees Across Europe Tops 4.75 Million
The data relies on the number of Ukrainian nationals who have registered for Temporary Protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe.
Among European countries, Poland has seen the largest influx of refugees from Ukraine, followed by Germany and the Czech Republic.
Russia Insists It Won’t Give Up Control Of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant
Russian authorities have denied Ukrainian claims that Moscow is planning to pull its troops back from the Zaporizhzia nuclear power plant. Russia has accused Ukraine of “actively spreading fakes'' about a possible Russian withdrawal from the area. On Telegram, the occupying administration wrote, “this information does not correspond to reality” and that Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant “remains under Russian control."
On Sunday, Petro Kotin, the head of Ukraine’s nuclear energy provider, said the company had received information that Russian forces may be preparing to leave the facility. However the Russian-backed administration said that Rosenegeatom, a Russian state-run firm, has announced plans to “create a back-up power supply source for Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.”
The plant and the area around it, have endured persistent shelling, which has raised fears of a nuclear accident. Russia and Ukraine continue to blame each other for the shelling.
How The Kremlin’s Patriotic Education Looks To Russian Students, Teachers, Parents
In Russian schools last spring, lessons on "important things" became a part of a compulsory hour pushing state propaganda. Independent Russian media outlet Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories spoke to teachers, parents and students about the patriotism brought into the classroom, especially since Putin launched the nationwide mobilization that may soon include some of the high school graduates.
Report: Ukraine War Blocking U.S. Strategy To Arm Taiwan Amid Rising China Tensions
Washington fears the war in Ukraine is deepening delays in sending a nearly $19 billion backlog of weapons bound for Taiwan, The Wall Street Journal reports.
With the U.S. supplying billions of dollars of weapons to Ukraine since the Russian invasion, the defense industry is unable to to fulfill “the longer-term demands of a U.S. strategy to arm Taiwan to help it defend itself against a possible invasion by China,” the WSJ writes, noting that the backlog of weapon deliveries has grown by more than $4 billion to $18.7 billion.
Tour Of "Points of invincibility" in Kyiv
In a newly-released video, Ukrainian outlet Pravdashows us around Kyiv's so-called "invincibility points" shelters.
Ukrainian authorities announced the deployment of such "invincibility points" last week across the country. Their aim it to provide heat, water, electricity, internet, first-aid kits — and a place to rest, sheltered from Russian strikes.
During the recent outages caused by Moscow’s strikes on the energy grid, an estimated 500 people passed through one such point per day. The Pravda journalists still note there have been delays in opening a number of “invincibility points.”
Moscow's new commander in Ukraine has changed the timing of when to strike cities and infrastructure.
For the fourth straight Monday morning, Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities have been subjected to a major air assault by Russia. At 8 a.m., the first missiles and air strikes were reported across Ukraine, again targeting critical infrastructure.
Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.
A large-scale air alert was declared throughout the country, as explosions hit Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Vinnytsia, Cherkasy, and Kirovohrad regions.
In the capital Kyiv, a missile hit the facility that supplies electricity to 350,000 apartments; with no light or water in vast stretches of the city, with emergency repairs trying to move as fast as possible.
In Ukraine’s second biggest city, Kharkiv, rockets hit a critical infrastructure facility, knocking out service in the subway and ground electric transport. There is severe damage in Dnipro and Pavlohrad, as well as Zaporizhzhia, where there is a partial lack of electricity and water.
The President's Office warned about Ukrainian cities' massive shelling and emergency power cuts. In many regions of Ukraine, including Lviv and Chernihiv, there are power outages and problems with telephone and Internet connection.
This time Russia launched more than 80 missiles from the Caspian Sea. Forty-four of them were shot down by Ukrainian air defense.
"Instead of fighting on the battlefield, Russia is at war with civilians. Do not justify these attacks by calling them a "response." Russia is doing this because it has more missiles and a desire to kill Ukrainians," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote.
Ukrainians note that in past months of the war, attacks on targets were carried out on weekends. That changed after the Oct. 8 appointment of General Sergey Surovikin to the post of commander of the Russian army in Ukraine, with a new strategy of attacks beginning at the start of the working week, when there is a possibility of more casualties and disruption of the ordinary course of business.
Turkey Tries To Salvage Grain Initiative, As 12 Vessels Leave Ukrainian Ports
After Moscow’s weekend withdrawal from the Black Sea grain initiative, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey is determined to keep it alive.
“One third of the world’s wheat is produced by Russia and Ukraine. You are the closest witnesses of our efforts to deliver this wheat to the countries facing the threat of famine,” Erdogan told an audience at the 8th Turkish Medicine Congress in Istanbul on Monday. “We provided 9.3 million tons of Ukrainian wheat to the world and helped to relatively ease the food crisis… We will continue our efforts with determination for the service of humanity.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet on Sunday that Russia was using this attack as an excuse, “By suspending its participation in the grain deal on a false pretext of explosions 220 kilometers away from the grain corridor, Russia blocks 2 million tons of grain on 176 vessels already at sea — enough to feed over 7 million people,” Kuleba said. “Russia made the decision to resume its hunger games long ago and now tries to justify it.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on “a strong international reaction” to Russia’s suspension from the grain deal, especially from the UN and the G20.
Still, it’s not clear what the effects are so far of Russia’s intentions to block grain exports, as 12 vessels left Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Monday. Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, said the UN and Turkey would inspect the ships, a process that takes place near the Turkish city of Istanbul. One of the ships that set sail on Monday was loaded with 40,000 tons of grain, destined for Ethiopia. The vessels contain around 354,500 tons of grain and other agricultural products.
UK Report Says Russian Reservists Have Reached Front Lines, But Are Under-Equipped
According to a report by British intelligence released on Monday, Russia has deployed several thousand newly mobilized reservists to the front lines in Ukraine since mid-October, many of whom are not properly equipped. The British Ministry of Defense said that many Russians sent to the front lines were done so without weapons, or with weapons like AKM assault rifles, which were first introduced in 1959.
After a mobilization in late September, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that they would conscript people who had served in the army and had combat experience. However, numerous cases were recorded of conscription of individuals without training, and without real military experience.
Ukrainian Refugees In UK Face Possible Homelessness
Thousands of Ukrainian refugees who fled to the UK after Russia’s invasion on February 24, may now face homelessness. The British government's Homes for Ukraine scheme, which provides Ukrainian refugees with a host home for a minimum of six months, is about to end.
Council leaders have warned ministers to act urgently in order to prevent a homelessness crisis among the Ukrainian refugees. But local authorities responsible for overseeing the scheme say they are struggling to find people to take in the refugees. The District Councils Network said that it had received many reports of hosts deciding not to rematch.
At the moment, 4,000 Ukrainians are looking for sponsors, according to the Ukrainian Sponsorship Pathway, a charity set up to support the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Berlusconi Pressures Zelensky, Calls Putin A “Man Of Peace”
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a key member of Italy’s current governing coalition that formally backs Ukraine, has again offered a perspective on the war that is far out of step with the rest of the Western coalition.
After repeating that he supports “a free and democratic country like Ukraine,” Berlusconi suggested that if the West reduced its support of Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would be forced to negotiate with Russia.
Speaking on prime time Italian television Sunday night, Berlusconi was asked how to end the war: “If at a certain point Ukraine understood that it couldn’t count anymore on arms and aid and if, instead, the West promised to send it hundreds of billions of dollars for reconstruction … in this case maybe Zelensky could accept to sit down at the table and negotiate.”
Berlusconi had stirred controversy earlier this month by boasting that he had sent gifts to his “friend” Putin. In the Sunday interview, he called Putin a “man of peace,” and said he had tried in vain to speak to the Russian president in the first days of the war.
Norwegian Border Town, A Possible “Staging Ground” For Russia To Divide And Conquer
A small town in Norway near the border with Russia is facing a tense standoff with its giant Russian neighbor. The Kremlin is accused of using the area as a staging ground for its policies to divide the West.
The latest escalation in a series of events occurred last Saturday when Russian Consul General Nikolai Konygin was set to give a speech in the town of Kirkenes to commemorate the Red Army’s liberation of the town.
Konygin, who was accompanied by visitors the Russian border city of Nikel, was met with Norwegian protesters who turned their back on the Consul General during the speech and began waving Ukrainian flags.
But the implications of this diplomatic showdown in a town of 3,600 stretch far beyond Norway's borders. Some believe that the Kremlin has used the region in the past as a testing lab for stoking internal divisions in the West. Read more here.