Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) promised Germany’s financial support to Ukraine’s neighboring countries due to the large number of war refugees. Germany can help refugees in countries like Moldova to be cared for locally, Baerbock said Monday in Eisenhüttenstadt (Oder-Spree). She together with the Brandenburg Minister of the Interior, Michael Stübgen (CDU), she visited the central initial reception facilities of the state. Around 1,500 refugees from Ukraine are currently housed there.
According to Olaf Jansen, head of the Central Immigration Office in Eisenhüttenstadt, as many as 15,000 refugees from Ukraine have been welcomed in Brandenburg. The people who arrived also traveled further. How many of them stay in Brandenburg depends on how many refugees are admitted across the country, Jansen explained. War refugees from Ukraine are distributed according to a certain key, which depends on tax revenue and population.
Many of the refugees, mostly women and children, hope to be able to return and are looking forward to the situation, Jansen said. At the initial reception center they would be provided with the essentials, asked about their intention to travel and then given help to continue their journey. Those who want to stay in Brandenburg would be registered and distributed to the municipalities. That works very well.
Baerbock called the commitment to Ukrainian refugees in Brandenburg “remarkable.” This shows how you can very pragmatically deal with situations that no one could really be prepared for: “Brandenburgian style, don’t talk about it much, just do it,” praised the Foreign Minister.
Stübgen reiterated the state’s demand for financial aid from the federal government for the care of refugees from Ukraine. Soon there should be clarity for the country and the municipalities, she said. “Now that this war has been going on in Ukraine for five weeks, it will soon be important for us that we also know how we can implement the financing of all these problems,” Stübgen said. At the same time, he joined the call of other federal states for the establishment of a central government crisis management team, because there was not yet “sufficient” coordination.
Baerbock promised help from the federal government
Baerbock promised help from the federal government. “It is clear that if you are a place here that in the long term takes care of this initial reception and then further distribution, in the future you will also need the corresponding financial resources from the federal government so that this important work can continue.” Brandenburg will be a more direct neighbor of Poland and will continue to play a role in the near future as a central location for the distribution of refugees.
Some municipalities in Brandenburg will soon find themselves on the edge when it comes to housing war refugees from Ukraine. “When it comes to the housing issue, it is becoming apparent in some cities and municipalities that it is becoming a big problem,” Wittenberg Mayor Oliver Hermann, president of the Association of Towns and Municipalities, said on Monday. “As Brandenburg, we are the country of arrival and at some point (…) we will reach the limit of our capacity. Some cities have already arrived, especially in metropolitan areas.” The wave of citizen support is high. “But we hope that, understandably, it won’t last forever.”
Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) and Baerbock expect up to 40,000 refugees in Brandenburg. Cottbus is one of several centers in Germany for the distribution of refugees. The point is that everyone who gets there finds their way and that there is a bed available for everyone if necessary, said the board of directors of the regional association DRK Hubertus Diemer. “It has to be doable.” The DRK coordinates on-site support in Cottbus. According to him, 20-40 DRK employees should be hired if necessary.
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During her visit to the first reception, the Foreign Minister emphasized the need for the international airlift initiated by the Federal Government for people who have fled to Ukraine’s neighboring countries. “We need a distribution there,” Baerbock said. No one will walk from Belarus, Moldova or Poland to Spain, let alone cross the Atlantic alone. “For that we need an airlift, which I am working full speed ahead with the G7 countries,” she said.
At the same time, he advocated strengthening NATO’s eastern flank. Russian President Putin has decided not only to attack Ukraine’s sovereignty, but also the peace order in Europe. “That’s why we also support our Eastern European neighbors in Poland, in the Baltic states, who of course have even bigger concerns than we do because they are even closer to Russia,” he said. “The security that we promised ourselves as Europeans, now we must give ourselves this security” (dpa)