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Ukraine: A Week Into the War with Russia, Over One Million Displaced

Mayer Brown
07/03/2022
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Over 1.2 million people have departed Ukraine for neighboring European countries since the Russia-Ukraine military conflict escalated on February 24, 2022, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) data portal. A spokesperson for the UNHCR reported that as many as 4 million Ukrainians—nearly 10 percent of the country’s population—are expected to flee to other countries if the fighting continues.

The security situation in Ukraine remains unpredictable throughout the country. Individuals in Ukraine should exercise increased caution and remain vigilant about shifting security conditions and alerts to shelter in place. In the event of conflict in their immediate vicinity, individuals should seek safety and monitor official government notices and reputable local and international media outlets for guidance. Most security and evacuation companies have suspended operations in Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine.

Embassies’ Assistance to Their Nationals in Ukraine

The embassies of several countries may provide emergency assistance to their nationals in Ukraine. These include:

  • Australia: Australian citizens with significant concerns for their own welfare, or that of another Australian, may contact the Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305.
  • Belgium: Belgian Embassy staff are offering assistance to Belgian nationals from the French Embassy in Kyiv. The embassy can be reached at: +38 050 387 75 01.
  • Canada: Canadian citizens in Ukraine and in need of assistance may email KYIV-Consular@international.gc.ca or contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa. Canadian citizens are also urged to enroll in the Registration of Canadians Abroad service.
  • Germany: German citizens in Ukraine may reach the Federal Foreign Office’s crisis hotline at +49 (0) 30 / 5000 3000. German citizens are urged to enroll in the Registration of Germans Abroad (ELEFAND) service.
  • India: Indian citizens present in Ukraine are urged to complete an online Registration of Indians Abroad form.
  • Israel: Israeli citizens staying in Ukraine are urged to provide their information to the Israeli government via an online form.
  • Italy: Italian citizens in Ukraine are recommended to register online and download the “Crisis Unit” app for mobile phones. Emergency numbers for consular support include: +39 0636225, +380 916174963, and +380 50 310 2111.
  • Nigeria: The emergency line for Nigerian citizens in Ukraine is +380639592848. Most real-time updates are made through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ social media pages, including Twitter and Facebook, as the ministry’s official web page is under construction. Additional information is available on the Nigerian Embassy in Poland’s website.
  • United Kingdom: British nationals in need of assistance should call +380 44 490 3660 or +44 (0)1908 516666 and select the option for “consular services for British nationals.” British nationals can also send an enquiry via the web contact form.
  • United States: US citizens in need of assistance in Ukraine should submit an Assistance Request online to the Department of State. Note that the US government has reported that it will not be able to evacuate US citizens out of Ukraine.

Countries Assisting Ukrainian Nationals

Individuals seeking to depart Ukraine should consult with official sources on how to cross borders. Conditions at each border can change quickly, routes may be blocked, and wait times can increase without warning. While the situation is rapidly evolving, some countries are developing policies to accommodate individuals seeking a safe haven. A few examples include: 

  • European Union: Please see Mayer Brown’s Legal Update EU Welcomes Ukrainians Fleeing the Conflict regarding the historic passage of a Temporary Protection Directorate by member states. 
  • United Kingdom: Please see Mayer Brown’s blog post Ukraine: the UK Government’s Immigration Response for details about the measures designed to support Ukrainian nationals currently in the UK.
  • Canada: Several new provisions were recently announced, including an authorization for emergency travel, which eliminates many of the normal visa requirements and permits Ukrainians to live in Canada for up to two years, and a pathway for family reunification that may also lead to permanent residency. The Canadian government has extended a temporary public policy that lets some visitors in Canada, including Ukrainians, apply for a work permit from within Canada. Consequently, people who have a job offer may be permitted to stay in Canada and start working while the work permit application is processed. New measures have also been put into place to expedite certain applications.
  • United States: Eligible Ukrainians already in the United States may request Temporary Protected Status to remain in the US for a period of 18 months and obtain work authorization. There are also procedures in place for Special Situations that affect the processing of immigration requests, procedures that include extensions and changes of status, fee waivers, employment authorization for students, and expedited processing. For those outside of the United States, the US Department of State provides details about special processing for visas and humanitarian assistance on each of its embassy/consulate websites. The US government is allowing certain travelers from Ukraine to enter without a pre-departure COVID-19 test. Further:
    • Immigrant visas for Ukrainians other than those for adoption cases will be processed at the US Consulate in Frankfurt. Adoption cases as well as A and G diplomatic and official visas will be processed at the US Embassy in Warsaw. Cases may be transferred to other locations upon acceptance by the alternate post.
    • Nonimmigrant visa applications may be processed wherever a Ukrainian applicant is physically located and can schedule an appointment.
    • The US Embassy in Poland site provides useful, general information about visa options, expedite requests, and additional resources.

Please also see Mayer Brown’s blog post Countries Around the World Offer Temporary Protection to Ukrainian Nationals.

Individuals in Ukraine who are considering leaving the country should monitor official sources, such as the following:

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Mayer Brown is closely following the Russia-Ukraine crisis for clients, their employees, and their families. We will continue to monitor and advise on these and other issues related to the conflict. Please follow updates on our dedicated Ukraine Crisis Spotlight page and blog The Mobile Workforce.

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