Roughly the same amount of people are crossing the border both ways between Ukraine and the European Union | Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images
Roughly the same amount of people are crossing the border both ways between Ukraine and the European Union | Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

Around half of the Ukrainians who fled to the EU have returned home, and a top official said the resumption of school in September could prompt many more families to make a decision.

The number of Ukrainians entering the European Union has fallen back to pre-invasion levels, a senior EU official said on Monday morning.

That means a similar number of Ukrainian citizens are crossing the border in both directions for the first time since early February.

"When it comes to the refugee flows, the situation now is stable," the EU's home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson said from Prague.

"The crossings between the EU and Ukraine, the numbers are pre-war, pre-COVID level, so we are back to like a normal number of people crossing."

Johansson was in Prague to meet with national home affairs ministers to discuss several issues, including migration. Politico reports that Ukraine's interior minister also joined the meeting.

Ylva Johansson met with home affairs ministers from around the EU, plus Ukraine, on Monday | Photo: Ondrej Dmel/CTK/dpa/picture-alliance
Ylva Johansson met with home affairs ministers from around the EU, plus Ukraine, on Monday | Photo: Ondrej Dmel/CTK/dpa/picture-alliance


The Czech Republic, where the meeting was held, has the highest number of Ukrainian refugees per capita, followed by Poland, the Baltic states, and Bulgaria.

But around half of the 6 million Ukrainian refugees who fled since February have already returned home, according to data from Frontex.

However, Czech interior minister Vit Rakusan still warned: "We all hope the situation will improve, but we don't see the end of the war yet."

Back home and back to school

Johansson said school resuming on September 1 will be a deciding factor for many Ukrainian refugees currently in the EU.

According to the UNHCR, around 90% of Ukrainian refugees are women and children. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy previously banned men of conscription age (18 to 60 years old) from leaving the country.

"I foresee that a lot of Ukrainians in the EU will take a decision before school starts — where to start school, in an EU member state or going back to Ukraine to start school there," Johansson said.

"I think the coming month, a lot of people will make a decision if they will go back now or if they will stay further on here."

Author: zc/rs (Reuters, dpa)

First published: July 11, 2022

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