Moldova asks US for more support as refugee numbers surge

A girl holds a Winnie the Pooh teddy bear as families, who fled Ukraine due to the Russian invasion, arrive to a refugee camp in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on March 3, 2022. (Photo : AFP)

Chisinau, Moldova| Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita urged the United States on Sunday to provide more humanitarian support as the number of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine to the small European country hit 120,000.

At the beginning of a meeting with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, she said her country of 2.6 million, one of Europe’s poorest, was straining under the weight of those fleeing Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine. 

“As of this morning, we had more than 230,000 people who have crossed the border from Ukraine, and 120,000 stayed in Moldova. 96,000 of them are Ukrainian citizens. For a small country like Moldova, proportionately, this is a very large number,” she told Blinken.

“Everybody has come together to host, to provide shelter, to provide food, to provide assistance to those who are fleeing war,” she said.

“But we will need assistance to deal with this influx, and we need this quickly,” she added.

Blinken, on the third stop of a trip in Europe to shore up unity against the Russian attack, said Moldova “can count on us across the board” for support.

“We admire the generosity, the hospitality, the willingness to be such good friends to people who are in distress. And indeed we want to do everything we can to help you deal with the burden this is imposing.”

In Poland on Saturday Blinken said the White House was seeking $2.75 billion in funds for humanitarian support related to the war, which has already driven more than one million people from Ukraine.

© Agence France-Presse

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