War in Ukraine: Without jobs or housing, thousands of Ukrainian refugees prefer to return home to war rather than live in misery abroad

War in Ukraine: Without jobs or housing, thousands of Ukrainian refugees prefer to return home to war rather than live in misery abroad

Ukrainian refugees who arrived in Spain in April decide to take the opposite route. In question, low wages and inflation. A shocking encounter.

The War in Ukraine has repercussions all over the world: tensions with the Russia, inflationthe conflict above all caused the exodus of millions of refugees. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ukraine has 6.6 million refugees abroad. A large majority in Poland (3.3 million). But also a lot in Western Europe. They would be 100,000 in France. And 125,000 in Spain.

Thanks to an extraordinary outpouring of solidarity, millions of lives have been saved. But adapting can sometimes be difficult. Indeed, on the other side of Pyrenees, many Ukrainian refugees choose to return home. Blame it on low wages and the cost of living, which they say is too high.

“Hello. I’m really sorry to have to write this message, but I’m going back to Ukraine. I can’t live here (in Spain), I just work to pay rent and food. I don’t see what I earn here .I’m driving home and need gas money so any help would be greatly appreciated”. This is how Yurii Blazhenets, a refugee who landed in Spain last April, asked for a last helping hand from his Spanish contacts via a Whatsapp message last week. Yurii is 42 years old. A lawyer, he nevertheless speaks perfect Spanish. But after having fled the war in Ukraine, he will this time flee theinflation and misery in Spain.

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A few working days per month

Upon arrival, Yurii benefited greatly from the Red Cross refugee program. “They sent me to a hotel in Parla (Madrid) where they give you room and board in exchange for lessons to learn Spanish. But what course will I take, if I have a diploma. I speak perfect Spanish. I need work”he launches with our colleagues fromEl Periodico de España.

So Yurii left to look for a job. But when he left his room, he also left the program. And when he returned five days later, his room had been reallocated to compatriots.

Hosted by friends in Tenerife, Yurii and his wife, Svitlana, are now resigned. “We pay for rooms, hotels, apartments. Sometimes a friend tells us to stay at his place. But we cannot maintain this situation”. “Even if I had a job, to rent a small apartment, they ask me for paychecks and a deposit. I can’t provide it because I don’t have any of that”, plagues Katiya, a friend of Yurii, who will also soon return to Kyiv. Whose only source of income was a few days of work per month in a warehouse, paid 40 euros a day. War doesn’t scare him “because at least I’ll be close to my family and I won’t lack a place to sleep”.

“They are starving. The administration seems to have disconnected itself from the serious situation of these refugee families”adds the Padrina Foundation, which helps more than 1,800 families.

In Granada, the departure of 100 families for the same economic reasons has been confirmed.

?? Els refugiats ucraïnesos que tornen a casa: “Amb aquests sous i aquests preus, és impossible viure” https://t.co/xa5JnhHlBX

— Diari de Girona (@DiarideGirona) August 17, 2022

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