Espreso. Global

11,000 Ukrainian men have fled to Romania since Russia's full-scale invasion

10 May, 2024 Friday
21:10

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, about 11,000 Ukrainian men have illegally arrived in Romania

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This is reported by the Romanian service of Radio Liberty, citing data from the country's border police.

This refers to Ukrainian men of military age (18-60 years old).

As a rule, fugitives ask for protection from the Romanian authorities, saying they do not want to go to war, says Florin Coman, head of the Territorial Inspectorate of the Border Police (ITPF) in Sighetu Marmației.

At the same time, 19 men died trying to get to Romania: 11 drowned in the stormy waters of the Tisza River, which is part of the border, and others died in the mountains at an altitude of up to 1,900 meters, which they tried to overcome without proper clothing and footwear, including in winter.

In contrast, over the past two years, Romanian rescuers have saved 108 Ukrainian citizens in Maramureș, one of the three counties in Romania where fugitives arrive.

The Romanian police officer also says that after a slight decrease in the flow of fugitives from Ukraine in 2023, the number of fugitives has been growing again since the beginning of this year.

Coman added that from January to April 2024, 1,218 cases of illegal border crossing from Ukraine to Romania were recorded, which, according to Coman, involved 2,373 Ukrainians.

Extradition of men to Ukraine: what is known

On April 25, Polish Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz said that his country was ready to help Ukraine return men of military age to “fulfill their civic duty.”

However, a few days later, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski noted that helping Ukraine bring Ukrainians of mobilization age home could be "ethically ambiguous" for Poland. "Ukraine really needs to take the initiative here, because this is an ethically ambiguous issue for us. Although, of course, we understand that Ukraine needs its defenders to protect its homeland," he said.

On April 30, Polish Interior and Administration Minister Marcin Kierwiński said that Warsaw intends to regulate the issue of men of military age staying in Poland in the new version of the law on assistance to Ukrainian citizens due to the war.

Kosiniak-Kamysz later said that the decision to facilitate the return of men of military age to Ukraine should be made at the EU level. Negotiations on this have already begun.

At the same time, Ukraine's Ambassador to Poland Vasyl Zvarych said that Kyiv had not officially asked either the Polish side or any other partners to facilitate the return of men of military age to Ukraine.

At the same time, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Presidential Administration, believes it is unfair that some Ukrainian citizens are abroad during the war and insists on their return.

On May 8, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, commenting on the possibility of extraditing men of military age to Ukraine, said that her country would not carry out deportations.

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