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How Poland Welcomed Ukrainians Seeking Refuge

Poland has long been one of the world’s most ethnically homogeneous countries, with a deep-seated mistrust of outsiders and a complicated history with Ukraine. Yet since Russia invaded Ukraine, Poland has provided an open-armed response to those fleeing the war. It is now sheltering around two million Ukrainians. Rebuilt from ruins after 1945, Poland has accommodated far more Ukrainian refugees than any other country. Germany is next, with about a million. Many of the refugees now have jobs with Polish companies, and their children are in Polish schools. All have access to Polish health care and other services. For now, many say they eventually hope to return to Ukraine. Poland’s response to the refugee situation in Ukraine has won plaudits from the E.U. and has given its right-wing government more clout, offsetting some earlier difficulties around what Brussels views as moves to undermine the independence of the Polish judiciary and discriminate against L.G.B.T.Q. people. Attempts from the far right to create animosity between Ukrainians and Poles have failed, said Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister. In the long run, he said, the influx will “make us stronger from many different angles.”

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