Russian-Ukrainian crisis: France anticipates “population movements” towards Europe

Towards a wave of migration? French authorities expect tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border to generate “population movements”including asylum seekers to France and the rest of Europe, said Tuesday, February 22 the head of the body responsible for granting refugee status.

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“It is quite obvious that if a high-intensity conflict breaks out there [en Ukraine]one would expect population movements”said Julien Boucher, Director General of the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra).

More internal displacement within Ukraine

These movements would lead “in the first place [à] internal displacement [à l’Ukraine] as often in these conflict situations, but also potentially to asylum applications” to other European countries and to France, he said during a hearing on Tuesday by the law commission of the National Assembly, with a view to a second term at the head of Ofpra.

In 2021, he said, more than 2,100 Ukrainians requested asylum in France, a contingent “modest”, out of all 103,000 requests received by this body. But already last year “some of these requests were based on the security situation in the Donbass”underlined Julien Boucher.

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