White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said that the United States is prepared to take refugees from Ukraine, though she argued that the majority of Ukrainians would probably be willing to settle in Europe.
Asked whether the US would be “prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees” amid the Russian offensive in Ukraine, Psaki responded, “We are, but we certainly expect that most, if not the majority, will want to go to Europe in neighboring countries.”
Psaki revealed the Biden administration was “working with European countries on what their needs are” and “where there is capacity” for refugees, citing Poland as an example of a European country which has experienced a heavy flow of Ukrainians over the past 24 hours.
We’ve been talking with and engaging with Europeans about that for some time now
Pressed on whether the US was also working to prepare for its own refugee intake, Psaki said that while “the president is certainly prepared for that,” there are “a number of European countries neighboring Ukraine who have expressed an openness to” taking refugees and the US “would anticipate many [Ukrainians] would want to go to European countries.”
Russian airstrikes took place in Ukraine on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in the Donbass region to defend the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics – which had requested Russian military assistance to combat “Ukrainian aggression.”
Many Ukrainians could be seen leaving the country in video footage, with the majority apparently heading towards Poland and other neighboring countries.