The first wave of refugees from Ukraine arrived in Greece by bus on Monday.
Mainly made up of women and young children, the group of refugees made their way through Romania, which borders Ukraine, to Greece after Russia’s invasion of their home country.
Men who are aged 18 to 60 are currently not permitted to leave the country, and many civilians are taking up arms to fight against the Russian invading forces.
First group of Ukrainian refugees has arrived in Greece
Many of the Ukrainian refugees were able to leave the country by car or train, but a number of them had to walk for miles to reach safety in neighboring countries like Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Moldova.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine last week, around 400,000 refugees from the country have left Ukraine, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated on Sunday.
However, the actual number of refugees may be higher. “Displacement in Ukraine is also growing but the military situation makes it difficult to estimate numbers and provide aid,” Filippo Grandi, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, tweeted on Thursday.
The UN has warned Russia that its invasion of Ukraine would have “devastating” humanitarian consequences. U.S. officials have estimated that the Russian invasion could produce between 1 million and 5 million refugees.
Notis Mitarakis, the Greek Minister of Immigration and Asylum, stated “if we as a country have to take a number of people, we are willing to do it in cooperation with the EU…The costs will be covered by Europe,” regarding the refugees coming to Greece.
Protests against the Russian invasion erupted across Greece over the weekend. Hundreds of protestors, many of whom are Ukrainians living in Greece or Greeks with roots in Ukraine, demonstrated outside of the Russian Embassy in Psychiko, a suburb of Athens, on Saturday.
Similar protests occurred in many cities across Greece, but at a smaller scale.