EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
In the week following Russia’s indefensible invasion of Ukraine, more than 1 million people have fled the country. The lines of refugees at the Ukraine-Poland border stretch for miles. Children cry in the freezing cold as wait times reach 60 hours. Refugees discuss the relatives they had been forced to leave behind—sometimes without knowing whether their loved ones are alive or dead. And the United Nations predicts that these refugees could be followed by millions more—potentially resulting in “the biggest refugee crisis this century.”
As Ukrainians seek safe harbor, they fortunately have received an extraordinary outpouring of support from the international community. The UN Refugee Agency, the International Rescue Committee, and other organizations have sent emergency teams and resources. People around the world, including in Russia, are taking to the streets to condemn the invasion—and donating to organizations offering direct aid to the Ukrainian people. The United States has pledged $54 million in humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees, with Congress considering an additional $2.9 billion as the situation escalates.
Though these efforts are vital, they also draw attention to our country’s cruelly inadequate infrastructure for aiding refugees from Ukraine and beyond. Instead of welcoming refugees with open arms, current efforts hold them at arm’s length.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.