On 12 May, the Ministry of the Interior hosted an experience exchange event on the reception of Ukrainian civilians in Latvia. The event discussed the support already provided to Ukrainian civilians who have arrived in Latvia after fleeing the Russian military aggression in Ukraine, as well as what solutions should be developed or implemented at the national and local level to facilitate and improve the daily life of Ukrainian refugees in local municipalities. The event is organised by the association “I Want to Help Refugees” with the support of the Ministry of the Interior. The event was opened by the Minister of the Interior Māris Kučinskis, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Māris Sprindžuks and Linda Jākobsone-Gavala, Board Member of the association “I Want to Help Refugees”.
Minister of the Interior Māris Kučinskis expressed his gratitude to all non-governmental organisations that quickly started their work and provided first aid to asylum seekers from Ukraine, stressing that this refugee crisis is one of the cases where synergy between non-governmental organisations and state institutions is clearly visible, as thousands of Ukrainian civilians have found refuge in Latvia, as in many other European countries, fleeing from Russian military aggression.
“In any war, women, children and the elderly suffer the most. Many asylum seekers have lost their homes, opportunities to develop their professional careers and their entire lives are packed into just a few travel bags. The arrival of Ukrainian refugees in Latvia was and still is a stress test for all state institutions and also for our laws, for the entire Latvian society. It is widely believed that Latvian society is conservative and very reticent towards strangers. The asylum seekers from Ukraine showed that we can be compassionate and empathetic. People in a crisis situation must be helped, especially if they are forced to flee their country, which is being destroyed by a ruthless enemy”, said Minister of the Interior M.Kučinskis.
The event brought together representatives from public administrations, local authorities and non-governmental organisations for discussions and working groups on topics such as accommodation, education, employment, social support and integration. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development also provided information on state-funded municipal support measures for Ukrainian civilians.
During the event, the Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior Jānis Bekmanis, presented data on the Ukrainian civilian population in Latvia. In 2023, more than 43 000 Ukrainian citizens have crossed the external border into Latvia, mostly in transit to return to Ukraine or to another EU country.
Support to Ukrainian civilians continues in accordance with the Law on Support to Ukrainian Civilians as well as the Action Plan for Support to Ukrainian Civilians in the Republic of Latvia for 2023.
The number of active Ukrainian civilians registered in the Register of Information Required to Support Ukrainian Civilians currently stands at 31 783, but the trend in recent weeks shows that the number of new registrations is lower. 47 451 Ukrainian civilians have been assigned a personal identity number. Since the beginning of the war until 9 May 2023, 22 627 Ukrainian civilians have left the Republic of Latvia. 4018 Ukrainian civilians are currently accommodated through the CAK, but the number of civilians accommodated in 2023 is decreasing.
Amendments to the Law on Assistance to Ukrainian Civilians are also being urgently promoted to extend all the time-limited measures until 30 June 2023 until the end of the year on 31 December 2023, because although the trend of a decrease in the number of refugees from Ukraine has now been established, it is clear that assistance is and will continue to be needed.
Ministry of the Interior