Conference on Polish aid to Ukraine in EP

Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

Polish families have taken in more than 1.4 million war refugees from Ukraine, a Polish deputy interior minister said at a Thursday conference on Polish aid to Ukraine in the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels.

Reporting on Poland's efforts to help Ukrainians, Pawel Szefernaker, who is also the Polish government's commissioner for refugee affairs, said that from the moment of Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine large numbers of Polish voluntaries reported themselves ready to aid refugees from the country.

He added that Polish local authorities have also done a lot to help Ukrainians who fled the war to Poland.

Szefernaker noted that although the government had prepared quarters for the refugees, most found lodgings with Polish families.

"Poles opened their hearts on a scale unprecedented anywhere before... and it's worth noting on what a scale this was - 1,433,000 people found help and shelter with Polish families," he said.

Szefernaker added that Poland was currently carrying most of "the huge burden" of helping Ukraine, and at the same time was a major frontline country in the conflict, responsible for safeguarding the eastern EU and Nato frontier.

Joachim Brudzinski, a MEP for Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and organiser of the conference, said that "the whole nation has united itself to help Ukrainians."

"As of February 24, the Polish people, Polish citizens, opened not just their hearts, wallets and homes, but all the goodness to be found in humans to help the Ukrainian refugees," he added.