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UKRAINE

Which Nordic country has taken in the most Ukrainian refugees?

Over 165,000 displaced persons from Ukraine have been granted temporary protection in the Nordic countries during the last nine months.

Which Nordic country has taken in the most Ukrainian refugees?
The foreign ministers of Ukraine and the Baltic and Nordic countries (minus Denmark) at a press briefing in November 2022. Photo: VALENTYN OGIRENKO / POOL / AFP

A new report from the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR breaks down the number of Ukrainian refugees granted asylum by each of the Nordic countries since their country was invaded by Russia in February.

The report is based on materials including interviews with authorities in each of the countries in the Nordic region.

Sweden is the Nordic country to have taken in the most Ukrainian refugees, with a total of 47,700. Second is Finland with 43,000, followed by Denmark with 34,700.

Norway has granted asylum to 31,000 Ukrainians and 1,700 are in Iceland.

Sweden is also the most populous country in the region with around 10.4 million people as of 2021. Denmark has just under 6 million people, with 5.4 million living in Norway.

The populations of Finland and Iceland are 5.5 million and 370,000 respectively.

The refugees taken in by each of the countries are granted protection under either national laws or the EU’s temporary asylum directive from 2001, which has been used for the first time in response to the war in Ukraine.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Why is Denmark treating Ukrainian refugees differently to those from Syria?

“Even though we want a quick end to the war, we must assume the conflict could be protracted and that many Ukrainians will stay here,” the report’s author, Anna Berlina, said according to Danish news wire Ritzau.

The temporary EU directive, which was activated on March 4th, was recently extended until March 4th 2024. According to the report, the EU is likely to further extend its directive until March 2025.

The directive requires EU member states to comply with a number of minimum criteria relating to access to health services, the labour market and education.

Denmark’s Ukrainian refugees are covered by a special “Ukrainian law” (Ukrainerlov) adopted by parliament in March.

Berlina said a long-term strategy is needed for refugees from Ukraine.

“This shows the necessity for a long-term plan for how we can best help Ukrainian refugees that have come to the Nordics,” she said.

READ ALSO: Denmark could see new influx of Ukrainian refugees 

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UKRAINE

Pro-Ukraine rallies across Europe on war anniversary

Protesters rallied across Europe Saturday in support of Ukraine on the second anniversary of Moscow's invasion, urging greater Western backing as fears mount about Kyiv's ability to fend off an emboldened Russia.

Pro-Ukraine rallies across Europe on war anniversary

Crowds gathered in Berlin, London, Paris and other European cities, waving the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag and demanding that Russian President Vladimir Putin put an end to the war.

When Putin sent his forces into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, it brought conflict back to Europe for the first time in decades, a geopolitical earthquake that sent shockwaves across the world.

With concerns growing about waning support from Ukraine’s allies as an emboldened Moscow makes battlefield gains, there were calls at a protest at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate for accelerated arms deliveries.

Addressing thousands of supporters, some waving banners that read “arm Ukraine now”, Berlin mayor Kai Wegner decried Putin’s “brutal war of aggression”.

“He wants to wipe out Ukraine, he wants to wipe out the identities of Ukrainians,” he told the crowd, which organisers estimated at 10,000-strong while police gave a figure of 5,000.

“But we won’t let that happen.”

He called on Berlin to deliver long-range Taurus missiles long sought by Kyiv, a demand the German government has so far refused for fears they could also strike inside Russia.

Valeria Zhylenko, a 32-year-old Ukrainian at the rally, recognised it was “more difficult now to support only Ukraine” due to other crises happening around the world.

But she added: “I want to remind the world that we are still here, we are resisting… we still need this support.”

In London, thousands of protesters marched to Trafalgar Square, waving banners that read “world support Ukraine”, and “Russia is a terrorist state”.

“Every single day people are dying, and the West is not supplying enough… weaponry, unfortunately,” said Tania Zubashenko, a 54-year-old Ukrainian.

“They promise, but sometimes it’s only words. We need real actions.”

‘Ukraine defending values’

Protests took place across France, with several thousand joining a march in central Paris, with shouts of “Putin murderer” and “Russia out of Ukraine” ringing out from the crowd.

In the city of Rouen, mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol told a crowd of several hundred that “Ukraine is defending its sovereignty but also its values and ideals, which are those of Europe.

“Europe is at war — we cannot remain on the sidelines of this battle.”

More than 1,000 protesters gathered in Warsaw — the capital of Poland, Ukraine’s neighbour and a key ally — in front of the Russian embassy, waving Ukrainian flags.

The demonstrators put up crosses with the names of victims of Russia’s war, as well as models of buildings destroyed in Russian bombings.

Demonstrations took place in numerous other cities across Europe, including Dublin, Athens, Stockholm and Milan.

At the Stockholm rally, Maryana Kostiv, a 22-year-old Ukrainian from Lviv, told AFP that she hoped for Ukraine to “win the war”.

“Everything will end and all the Ukrainians can go back to Ukraine and start to live their normal lives again. That’s all that I hope for,” she told AFP.

Despite the show of support across the continent on Saturday, Europeans are becoming increasingly worried about Ukraine’s faltering efforts to fend off Moscow.

According to a survey released last week, only 10 percent of Europeans believe Ukraine can defeat Russia on the battlefield.

The survey conducted last month across 12 EU countries showed that on average 20 percent of those asked believed Russia could win, and 37 percent thought the conflict would end in a compromise settlement.

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