Poland opens reception centres for Ukrainian refugees

Bartłomiej Wójtowicz/PAP

Poland has already opened eight reception centres for Ukrainian refugees at the Polish-Ukrainian border, in the Lubelskie and Podkarpackie provinces, south-eastern part of the country, a deputy interior minister announced on Thursday.

"Four centres are located in the localities of Dorohusk, Dolhobyczow, Zosin and Hrebenne in the Lubelskie province, and four in Korczowa, Medyka, Budomierz oraz Kroscienko in the Podkarpackie province," Pawel Szefernaker said on Thursday.

"A ninth centre will be open at the railway station in Przemysl, Podkarpackie province, in the coming hours," he added.

Earlier on Thursday, Szefernaker told a Radio Plus programme that Poland had for long been preparing a crisis management scenario.

"We have been implementing its first part since early hours on Thursday," he said, adding that provincial governors had already started to follow the decision ordered by Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski.

Szefernaker said that the centres for Ukrainian refugees would offer them accommodation, medical assistance and all necessary information.

Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised a special military operation in Ukraine's Donbass region in the early hours of Thursday morning and told the Ukrainian military to lay down its weapons and go home. In a special televised address on Russian state TV, Putin said Russia has been left with no choice but to defend itself against what he said were threats emanating from modern Ukraine.

Moscow had massed more than 150,000 troops on Ukraine's borders. On Monday, Putin recognized the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine.