First Ukrainian refugees arrive in NL, as EU opens its borders

Ukrainian demonstrators in Amsterdam. Photo:
Ukrainian demonstrators in Amsterdam. Photo:

So far 50 refugees from Ukraine have reported to the refugee reception centre in Ter Apel in Groningen, a spokesman for junior justice minister Eric van der Burg has confirmed.

People from Ukraine do not have to report to Ter Apel because they are allowed free movement within the Schengen open border area for a 90 day period.

Van der Burg said earlier that the Netherlands was poised to expand the 90-day period, and said that move would also apply to Ukrainian nationals already in the Netherlands.

The BBC reported on Sunday that EU leaders unanimously agreed to lift the 90 day limit although this has not yet been confirmed.

EU leaders have also agreed a package of measures to help countries nearest Ukraine with the surge of people fleeing the fighting. The UN estimates five million Ukrainians could flee abroad.

The Netherlands has already donated €20m to help the UN relief effort.

Ireland, which is not part of the Schengen agreement, lifted visa requirements for Ukrainians on Friday but Britain has not yet done so.

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