An overwhelming majority of Poles want their country to offer as much support to Ukrainian refugees as possible, with 95 percent in favor of providing refuge and offering aid to those fleeing the conflict, new polling revealed.
In the latest IBRiS survey commissioned by Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, nearly 60 percent of all respondents believed that “all fleeing people must be admitted” to Poland, with a further 35 percent still supporting admission of “the most needy” and most at risk.
In contrast, just 3 percent favored only supporting refugee camps located in Ukraine and just 1 percent of respondents were against any help for the refugees.
The readiness to help their Ukrainian neighbors was based on the assumptions that there will be a mass influx of refugees to neighboring countries following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Almost 35 percent of respondents said they expect millions to arrive in Poland, while 30 percent believed the numbers would be in the hundreds of thousands. Just 10 percent expected the figures to be limited to several thousand.
On Thursday morning, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi tweeted that “in just seven days, we have witnessed the exodus of 1 million refugees from Ukraine to neighboring countries.”
Migration experts have suggested that between 4 and 5 million arrivals from Ukraine were possible.
According to IBRIS head Marcin Duma, the survey shows the wide degree of acceptance of Ukrainian refugees. There is virtually no one who would not admit women and children. The doubts with regard to men are connected to the Ukrainians desire to continue to fight the Russians.
The public’s attitude towards refugees from Ukraine contrasts the attitude towards the illegal migration on the Polish border with Belarus. That migration wave, mostly of a young man, was seen as a hostile threat.
Ukrainians in Poland are viewed differently as they are regarded as being similar culturally to Poles and because they are fighting Poland’s historic foe, Russia.
In addition, Ukrainians have assimilated well in Poland and have made a major contribution to Poland’s workforce. As such, their presence in Poland is widely accepted and welcomed.