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Adviser urges MP to get govt to help ‘overwhelmed’ Poland

Adviser urges MP to get govt to help ‘overwhelmed’ Poland
Refugees from the war in Ukraine seek shelter in a sports center in Warsaw, Poland on March 11 (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Financial adviser Filip Slipaczek has met with his MP in an effort to urge foreign secretary Liz Truss to send more foreign aid to Poland, weeks after Warsaw’s mayor said it was “overwhelmed”.

Slipaczek met with Barnet MP Theresa Villiers on March 23. The two had a 30-minute Zoom call, after which Villiers agreed to send a letter to foreign secretary Liz Truss asking her to send more foreign aid to Poland.

The country has taken in more than 2mn Ukrainian refugees since Russia waged war on Ukraine, but this has taken its toll on Poland’s public resources. 

Rafal Trzaskowski, Warsaw’s mayor, told FTAdviser’s sister publication Europe Express in mid-March: “We will do everything we can to make sure no one is left on the street, but it has to be said that we in Poland are slowly becoming overwhelmed and that is why we need a coordinated response from the west.”

More than 300,000 Ukrainians have fled to Warsaw, Poland’s capital, since the Russian invasion, boosting its population by 15 per cent and pushing the city’s services to “the limit”, according to Trzaskowsk.

Slipaczek, who was born in the UK but is a Polish citizen and has family from Ukraine, told FTAdviser he is concerned not enough is being done to financially support those European countries bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis.

“The UK government may be giving Ukraine guns and armour - so are the Poles - but when it comes to physical help for the refugee crisis in Poland, very little has been given,” said Slipaczek.

This week (March 28), Truss announced joint plans with Australia to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Ukraine. 

The first of two flights, which were set to leave yesterday (March 29), carried items such as hygiene kits, solar lights, heaters, groundsheets, kitchen sets and blankets.

While the two planes will land in Poland, the foreign office said the items will be distributed in Ukraine and Moldova - not Poland.

In total, the UK has committed £400mn in urgent economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine since the invasion, according to the foreign office’s website.

FTAdviser also understands UK assistance provided in Poland has included 763,000 medical items, and UK humanitarian experts on the ground.

“The problem I was trying to stress to Theresa is that Poland has taken in 2.2mn Ukrainians. This country has only taken in around 20,000. Poland has taken them in with no documentation. No visas. They have a right to remain for three years,” Slipaczek explained.

“Obviously, this is costing the Polish state and individual Polish people. What I’m worried about is in six or 12 months time, when Poland has still got to look after all these people. Help needs to be given, not only by this country but by the rest of the EU.