April 10 (UPI) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged further support Sunday as countries continue taking refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Trudeau told CNN that Canada has already taken in more than 14,000 refugees from Ukraine and will continue to take “many, many more.”
“When I was in Warsaw a few weeks ago, I heard from people who don’t want to go too far from their husbands, their families back in Ukraine,” Trudeau said.
“But [they] are also looking at, if this does go on as long as it might, they need solace and a secure place to go and Canada will always be there for as many as choose to come to Canada.”
Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, has praised Canada for its “generous support to refugees, everywhere.”
“My deepest gratitude to you, Canada,” Grandi said in a tweet Wednesday, which included a picture with Trudeau. “In a troubled world, this is needed — more than ever.”
Assistant High Commissioner of Operations Raouf Mazou on Saturday also praised Romania and Moldova for “the remarkable solidarity displayed in both countries towards people fleeing Ukraine.” More than 686,000 have fled to Romania while more than 410,000 have fled to Moldova.
“In the past days, I have witnessed first-hand the generosity that has thus far characterized the response to the arrival of refugees from Ukraine,” Mazou said.
“We must all express our deep appreciation to the governments and the people of both Romania and the Republic of Moldova for opening their hearts and their homes to those in need, in these very difficult times.”
Their statements come as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Warsaw to meet with the prime minister of Poland and officials from Ukraine to discuss the ongoing war.
Data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shows that more than 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled to Poland since the start of the Russian invasion. The lawmakers were pictured speaking with some of the Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
Another 419.000 refugees have fled to Hungary while more than 314,000 have fled to Slovakia, according to the UNHCR. Hungary and Slovakia, like Poland, are members of the Schengen area which allows travel within Europe. Many of the refugees may have since continued on to other countries.
More than 4.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine in total since the start of the invasion, the data shows.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv after visiting the town of Bucha on Friday.
Von der Leyen said that the European Union would increase its support to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion and presented him with an envelope that contained steps on moving Ukraine toward EU membership.
Von der Leyen announced that the European Union issued “five waves” of sanctions against Russia and is “already preparing the next wave.”
“We are now moving into a system of rolling sanctions. And these sanctions are biting hard. Exports in goods to Russia have fallen almost 71%. Inflation is around 20% — and rising,” von der Leyen said.
The European Union has also allocated 1 billion euross, which is $1.09 billion, to support the Ukrainian military and “will now propose another 500 million.”
“In addition, EU member states are delivering military equipment on an unprecedented scale. Slovakia is a shining example for that,” she said. “With this we support the brave Ukrainian soldiers, fighting for Ukraine´s freedom. And for everyone’s freedom.”
On Sunday, it was revealed that the governors of Iowa and Nebraska had announced in March that they would donate military-grade police protective gear to Ukrainian civilians.
“The state is providing 146 protective helmets and 714 ballistic vests to Ukraine through donations from the Department of Public Safety and 18 other law enforcement agencies,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement.
“The retired equipment is past the manufacturers’ recommended service life but still in usable condition. Nebraska contributed additional helmets and vests to send with Iowa’s donation.”
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian aid organization called Everything Will Be Fine has amassed around 1,000 volunteer bus drivers to operate a fleet of more than 400 buses and vans to shuttle Ukrainian civilians out of the war-torn Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, The New York Times reported.
“In my estimation, the Donetsk region could be encircled in three to four days,” Yuroslav Boyko, who heads the organization, told the Times. “We need to make sure everyone who is looking to leave can get out.”