There were 625 Ukrainians who requested international protection from the Polish authorities in 2017. There is no talk of dozens of thousands of refugees from Ukraine, the head of the consular department of the Ukrainian embassy to Poland, Svitlana Krysa, told 112 Ukrayina TV.
She said that, compared with the previous years, the number of Ukrainian refugees to Poland or those seeking international protection decreased and that the figure mentioned by the Polish prime minister has nothing to do with reality.
"It is not the first time that we raise the issue of the true number of Ukrainian refugees to Poland because this problem was also raised by Prime Minister [Beata] Szydlo and now [Mateusz] Morawiecki. They say the number of refugees from Ukraine is high whereas in fact, according to official data of the department for foreigners' affairs in Poland, only 625 Ukrainian nationals requested international protection from this department in January-November 2017. Compared with the previous years, if we take 2014, this number went four times down, and it is half of what it was in 2016. In 2016, there were 1,306 Ukrainian nationals who requested international protection. Overall, Ukrainian nationals accounted for 21 per cent of all foreign nationals who requested international protection in 2017," she said.
According to Krysa, Ukrainians move to Poland and other EU member states for employment.
"Most of all, these are people who come for employment and education therefore there is no moral right to say that all these people are refugees," she said.
She added that Warsaw uses the Polish officials' statements about dozens of thousands of refugees from Ukraine as an excuse not to honour its commitments to the EU on migration policy.
"Ukrainians should not be seen as a bargaining chip under any circumstances. This is a purely political matter, a political aspect and an excuse of the Republic of Poland to other EU countries not to accept migrants from other countries of migration risk," she said.
Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Poland allegedly accepted "several dozens, maybe hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine".