Poland hosts up to 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees deputy minister says

Łukasz Gągulski/PAP

Between 1.2 and 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees are currently staying in Poland, Blazej Pobozy, a deputy interior minister, said on Wednesday.

In an interview with local broadcaster Radio Olsztyn, Pobozy said that not all of the 3.59 million people who had crossed the border with Ukraine into Poland since Russia's invasion in February had stayed in the country.

"Let's remember that for some, although it is a clear minority, Poland, for various reasons, is a transit country and they're continuing their journey to Western Europe," Pobozy said.

What is more, a considerable number of Ukrainians have returned to their country, a trend that has intensified in recent weeks as the Russian offensive has concentrated on the Donbas region and southern Ukraine, the deputy minister added.

The real number of refugees who have stayed in Poland can be derived from the number of personal ID numbers PESEL issued to Ukrainians, which is now at 1.2 million, he said.

"I assume that people who have come to Poland and want to stay for a bit longer have applied for the PESEL number," Pobozy said.