TALLINN – The interior ministers of Estonia and Finland agreed that Finland is ready to accept Ukrainian war refugees who have arrived in Estonia.
"We are definitely not talking about the forced redistribution of refugees. Within the cooperation between the two countries, we will offer Ukrainian war refugees arriving here in the future the opportunity to move on to Finland, where there is currently more capacity to receive and help refugees. This is a voluntary decision of every Ukrainian -- we will not forcibly drive anyone away from here," Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets wrote on social media.
To date, Estonia has offered temporary protection to almost 41,000 Ukrainian war refugees.
"Of course, we will continue to accept all those in need, but the critical question is whether and what kind of help we will be able to offer them soon? One option would be to cut the necessary support services. However, this would not only affect the Ukrainian war refugees, but also the people of Estonia in many ways," Laanemets said.
He added that this includes the burden on the education system, the healthcare system and the social system as a whole.
"For example, queues for treatment, the lack of teachers, or even whether we can offer refugees adequate language training? Of course, also the practical side: we have essentially exhausted our long-term accommodation capacity, the country is also at the limit of its capabilities when it comes to providing short-term accommodation," the minister said.
In order to prevent a crisis situation caused by continued migration and to ensure the necessary services and help for the arriving war refugees as well as the people of Estonia in the future as well, the minister of the interior started talks with the Finns almost a month ago in order to ask for their support.