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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Denmark and The Netherlands to lead training of Ukrainian F-16 pilots

Denmark and the Netherlands have taken the initiative to lead the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 jets, according to statements made by the US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, to Reuters.

Denmark and The Netherlands to lead training of Ukrainian F-16 pilots

The collaborative effort aims to enhance Ukraine’s aviation capabilities and improve its defence forces.

On Thursday, it was further confirmed that Denmark’s Defence Minister and the US Defence Secretary had a meeting to discuss the matter in detail.

In addition, several other countries are also expected to take part in the training.

“The first step is to find out which countries will be involved in carrying out the training mission, and we are doing that now. In regards to this, Denmark is ready to play a central role together with the Netherlands,” Denmark’s defence minister, Troels Lund Poulsen, told the Ritzau newswire after the announcement. .

“The US Defence Secretary recognised Danish support for Ukraine and our work in developing solutions for the continued support for the Ukrainians.”

He added that it had “yet to be clarified” whether the training offer meant that Denmark would also donate jets to Ukraine but noted that the agreement is “an important strategic step in the long term.”

Recent initiative developments

Denmark’s defence minister first stated that Denmark would start discussions on how to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 combat aircraft last Friday.

The statement was made after US President Joe Biden announced earlier that day that the US supports a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots.

Poulsen has also said that he expects several countries to cooperate on the F-16 pilot training.

After meeting other European defence ministers in Warsaw, Poland, last Monday, he said he was “very optimistic after the discussion we had today.”

“Belgium, Great Britain, and the Netherlands have already said that they will join, but I clearly sense that several countries will also join the coalition of countries that will carry out educational activities for the Ukrainian pilots,” he said, adding that more concrete information would likely be announced in the next couple of weeks.

Broad support for a concrete model

On Monday, Poulsen spoke to his colleagues from the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Poland.

“I think that there is great and good support for now trying to create a concrete model for what an educational activity might look like for the Ukrainian pilots,” he said, according to Ritzau.

However, the preparatory process will take time.

“From the time one starts until you have made a retraining effort, I think you should expect a minimum of around six months.

“But it is my clear ambition that by July 1st, we would like to have a concrete project ready that we can offer to the Ukrainian government. And that we can then get it started as soon as we hit the summer holidays,” Poulsen said.

He also said he expects Denmark to decide whether to donate F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in the autumn.