Commentary: Ukraine’s refugees are part of Putin’s plan to destabilise Europe


While some European communities have called Ukrainians “guests” and not “refugees”, other local communities are reportedly overwhelmed.

In Warsaw, for example, 75 new schools will need to be built to educate Ukraine refugee children. “It’s like sitting on a ticking bomb,” said Agnieszka Kosowicz, president of the Warsaw-based non-profit Polish Migration Forum. “Poles simply don’t have the resources to sustain their initial levels of generosity,” she explained.

So far, European politicians have not called the wave of Ukrainian refugees a crisis. Some experts say this is because Ukrainians are predominantly white and Christian.

Other migration situations show that cultural and ethnic similarities do not always prevent political instability. In Turkey, for example, most Turkish residents and Syrian refugees are both predominantly Muslim. But public polls show a steady decline in tolerance for Syrians over the past 10 years.

Putin knows economic anxieties feed anti-migration rhetoric in Hungary, France and other countries. This can create new threats to EU solidarity, and, by extension, European security.

Mark A Grey is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Northern Iowa. This commentary first appeared in The Conversation.

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