Some Ukrainian refugees fear Sweden, citing public safety concerns

Ukrainians charge their electronic devices at a refugee shelter in Nadarzyn, near Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, March 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By John Cody
3 Min Read

A number of Ukrainians are reportedly refusing to seek refuge in Sweden over concerns for their safety, it has emerged.

The story was first reported by Swedish news outlet Nyheter Idag following a first hand account from a humanitarian worker on the ground in Poland.

Jimmy Hemmingsson, a Swedish national currently assisting the humanitarian effort in the Polish capital of Warsaw, explained in a radio interview that refugees have been expressing concerns about the number of shootings that occur in Sweden, in addition to hearing reports of social protection services taking children away.

He revealed that he was currently having a hard time filling the buses destined for Stockholm.

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“There are a lot of rumors. People are vulnerable, they hear one thing, and then it becomes a reality,” Hemmingsson told listeners, before suggesting that Swedish authorities send someone down to Poland to help inform and assure refugees of their safety in Sweden.

“It’s easy for me to walk around and say that I’m a good old man named Jimmy and come from Sweden, but it gives no one confidence. An authority would do that,” he added.

There have already been reports from Sweden of Ukrainian women being subjected to threats of sexual assault — those in question have already expressed their desire to head home to Ukraine over fears for their safety.

Last week, Swedish news outlet Samnytt reported on an incident in the town of Örebro where a group of migrant males attempted to break into a hostel housing Ukrainian women and children.

One woman told the news outlet that at least they knew what they were getting in Ukraine: “When there are bombs, I know at least that I can go down to the basement and hide there.

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“They said that Sweden was a safe country, but I have not seen that,” another told Swedish public radio.

On the issue of shootings, the La Croix daily reported in January that shootings had reached a record high across Sweden in 2021 as police struggled to contain migrant gang violence.

Last year, there were 46 homicides committed in 335 shootings across Sweden, with the majority occurring in the large cities of Malmö, Gothenburg, and Stockholm.

The rise in trouble across the former model country led last year to Germany’s Bild tabloid running the headline: “Sweden is the most dangerous country in Europe.”

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