From Iceland — Russians Protest Invasion, Refugee Committee To Discuss Ukraine

Russians Protest Invasion, Refugee Committee To Discuss Ukraine

Published February 25, 2022

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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A large gathering of Russian citizens and others opposed to the invasion of Ukraine gathered near the Russian embassy in downtown Reykjavík yesterday, Vísir reports.

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Andrei Menshenin, a Russian journalist and the organiser of the protest, said that most Russians of his age are unhappy with Putin’s actions, except for older people who mostly watch state television. Those who are more likely to get their news online are more likely to be opposed to the war.

Svetlana Graudt, a Russian citizen who was at the protest, said that she had to hug her daughter when she heard the news yesterday morning, saying, “No one I know believes that this is happening.”

Many Ukrainians, if they are able, are fleeing to the Polish border, where they are trying to get refugee status. This has prompted other European countries to consider their own next steps. Ireland, for example, has already decided to waive all visa requirements for Ukrainians.

For Iceland’s part, Ukraine is no longer on the list of “safe countries” on the official site of the Directorate of Immigration. This list is used, in part, to assess who may be eligible for international protection.

Stefán Vagn Stefánsson, chair of the Refugee Committee, told Vísir that the committee will be meeting next week, and will most likely discuss Ukraine. This committee oversees the acceptance of so-called “quota refugees”, i.e., people seeking international protection that Iceland has expressly invited to the country. This is typically done in coordination with refugee camps in other countries.

“We will follow the situation closely and discuss the matter, and see how things develop,” Stefán said. “We will meet next week, so I believe that the situation will be discussed there.”

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