US accepts 100,000 refugees from Ukraine, White House says

The US will take in up to 100,000 refugees fleeing fighting in Ukraine as the humanitarian crisis worsens from Russia’s attack on its neighbor, government officials said Thursday.

The United Nations estimates that more than 10 million people in Ukraine have been uprooted in the fighting. According to the UN, more than 3.6 million of them have fled the country, most with Poland as their destination.

A senior administration official said Thursday more details would emerge, but officials are examining a number of legal avenues, including the US program to take in refugees. President Biden was in Brussels Thursday for meetings with NATO leaders and allies on how to respond to Russia’s aggression.

The official said the government is “specifically working to expand and develop new programs with a focus on accommodating Ukrainians who have family members in the United States.” The official added that the US is “committed to protecting the most vulnerable among the refugee populations who have already fled,” such as gay and transgender people, those with medical needs and dissidents.

The official said the US would work closely with European allies.

Ukraine targeted a port facility used by Russian forces and hit a naval vessel; Biden meets world leaders in Brussels to discuss next steps with Russia; The Ukrainian President called for global rallies to mark a month of war. Photo: Associated Press

The European Union has taken in some 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees since the war began, with the bloc allowing people fleeing the war to enter without visas and with the right to two years of work.

The bloc has also introduced core services for the arriving people, providing them with food, shelter and education. Ireland, which is outside the bloc’s visa-free travel zone, waives visas for Ukrainians. Britain, which is no longer in the EU, is now letting Ukrainians come if they have a sponsor.

The government in Poland, where 2.2 million people have arrived, has asked for international help, particularly from the US and the UK. Ukrainians have generally settled in Central European countries such as Poland and Slovakia. Both nations speak a language similar to Ukrainian, share cultural ties and centuries-old histories, and their labor markets are tight.

Earlier this month, during an hour-long meeting in Warsaw, Polish President Andrzej Duda urged Vice President Kamala Harris to expedite US visas for Ukrainians in Poland hoping to join family members in the US. Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do the same thing, during a separate meeting in the Polish capital.

“This is a test for us: Putin wanted to weaken us, divide us, this is his tactic to destabilize countries with refugees,” Mr Trzaskowski said in an interview. “We all know … this won’t just be for a week or two.”

write to Catherine Lucey at and Laurence Norman at

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