‘Prepared for the worst’: Polish PM braces for Ukrainian refugees

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WARSAW, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Poland is planning for a possible influx of refugees from Ukraine in case of a Russian invasion, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday, despite Moscow’s assurances it was scaling back a troop buildup near Ukraine.

Speaking as NATO said the number of Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders was continuing to grow, Morawiecki said infrastructure for refugees would be set up near its eastern border with Ukraine, but some might be moved elsewhere later.

“In the next few days I will be convening a team … which will deal with issues of logistics, facilities, transport, infrastructure,” Morawiecki told reporters.

“We must be prepared for the worst,” he said, adding that the team would also be tasked with securing access for refugees to health care and education. “We are helping the Ukrainians to mitigate the consequences of a Russian attack.”

Russia announced a partial pullback of troops on Tuesday and said that was continuing on Wednesday and its armed forces would return to their normal positions in three to four weeks.

NATO said it would welcome a Russian withdrawal but that it had not seen signs of any significant movement so far.

Reporting by Alicja Ptak, Pawel Florkiewicz and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Writing by Alicja Ptak; Editing by Philippa Fletcher

Photo – Patrol of the Territorial Defense Forces on the Polish-Belarusian border in Koden, eastern Poland. EPA-EFE/WOJTEK JARGILO

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