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Which EU countries will allow Ukrainians to stay with an invalid passport, and who is ready to send them home?

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Which EU countries will allow Ukrainians to stay with an invalid passport, and who is ready to send them home?

Several countries of the European Union have spoken out about consular restrictions for Ukrainian men. Some say they are ready to allow Ukrainians to stay, while others are ready to facilitate their return. Find out how the countries are divided on this issue

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Following the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to limit consular services for Ukrainian men of mobilisation age, a number of Ukrainians have faced the problem of obtaining and extending their passports. 


It is worth noting that, according to Eurostat, at the beginning of 2024, approximately 4.3 million Ukrainians lived in the European Union, of whom about 860,000 were adult men. 


So, amid the problem with consular services for Ukrainians, the countries with the largest number of refugees have split into two camps - some will allow Ukrainian citizens to stay, even with an invalid passport, while others, on the contrary, are ready to assist Ukraine in returning men to their homeland.


Here's a look at which European countries have already expressed their position on the matter and what decisions refugees can expect.


Poland


Poland is currently home to up to one million Ukrainians, the second largest number after Germany. 


Officially, Warsaw has already made a statement on the situation at Ukrainian consulates. They said that the country is ready to help Ukraine return men of conscription age to "fulfil their civic duty". This was stated by Polish Defence Minister Wladyslaw Kosyniak-Kamysh, Reuters reports.


As you know, Poland has offered to help Ukraine in the past to return conscripts to their country. This time, however, all the statements come at a time when Ukrainians are facing consular restrictions.


"Any support is possible," the minister says of how Poland would react if Kyiv asked for help in returning home those who may lose the right to stay in Poland after their passports expire.


Lithuania


This country, following Poland, also expressed its position on this issue. According to Delfi, Lithuanian Defence Minister Laurinas Kasciunas said that Vilnius needs to think about how to help Ukraine return men of military age who have left the country. At the same time, the minister added that Lithuania is not yet considering specific measures and is watching what decisions Poland will make on this issue.


"It's probably hard to say what kind of measures this will turn into. Perhaps, we will have to talk about this specifically," Kasciunas said.




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Germany


Germany has a different position on Ukrainian refugees. DW addressed this issue to a representative of the Berlin Senate, who said that granting or extending a residence permit to Ukrainian refugees in Germany does not require them to have a valid passport. 


The main thing is that the German authorities should have at least some opportunity to establish their identity.


It is worth noting that the Berlin Senate is one of the 16 federal states of Germany, and all issues related to the stay of foreigners in Germany are within the competence of the land authorities.


Other countries


So far, only three countries have made official statements. However, this is not the first time the issue of Ukrainian refugees in Europe has been raised, so some conclusions can be drawn from previous statements. For example:


• Austria - in September 2023, the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it would not extradite men of military age to Ukraine.

• Czech Republic - in January 2024, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said that the country has no legal mechanisms to send conscripted male refugees back to Ukraine.

• Hungary - the country's authorities are categorically against the extradition of men from Ukraine.


We remind you! Ukrainian male citizens abroad have faced restrictions on consular processes. In particular, persons of mobilisation age cannot apply for a new passport or pick up an existing document. Read here to find out when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to lift these restrictions and what new rules you need to prepare for in the future.



Photo: shutterstock


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