North Rhine-Westphalia: Almost a quarter of a million Ukrainian refugees in NRW

Düsseldorf (dpa/lnw) - Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine last February, North Rhine-Westphalia has already taken in more than 216,000 refugees from the country attacked by Russia.

North Rhine-Westphalia: Almost a quarter of a million Ukrainian refugees in NRW

Düsseldorf (dpa/lnw) - Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine last February, North Rhine-Westphalia has already taken in more than 216,000 refugees from the country attacked by Russia. More than 40,000 children from Ukraine went to school here, said Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) on Tuesday after the inaugural visit of the new Ambassador Oleksii Makeiev to the Düsseldorf State Chancellery.

"Ukraine can rely on our solidarity," said Wüst, who, according to the government, was the first prime minister to receive the new Ukrainian ambassador to Germany. "North Rhine-Westphalia stands by its humanitarian responsibility."

Makeiev spoke of a "great feeling" to experience this solidarity and the people's willingness to help his compatriots during his first visit to North Rhine-Westphalia, which began on Monday. "Ukraine's reconstruction will not start after this war is won, but now," he stressed. NRW is an important partner in this. The ambassador appealed to entrepreneurs to invest in his country and build a new, secure Europe together.

Wüst assured that Putin's plan to divide Europe, weaken the economy and democracy and erode support for Ukraine would not work. Reconstruction and emergency aid - for example with generators and other aids - could not wait.

NRW will continue its support. This applies, for example, to the transport of urgently needed relief supplies as part of the state initiative "NRW helps Ukraine". A large part of these aid supplies have so far been made up of medicines that are made available by the network of university hospitals in North Rhine-Westphalia. NRW is striving for a close partnership with a Ukrainian region.

On Monday, Makeiev had already visited the President of the State Parliament, Economics Minister Mona Neubaur (Greens) and the Mayors of Düsseldorf and Cologne. The 46-year-old has been Ukraine's new ambassador to Germany for three weeks, succeeding Andriy Melnyk. The 46-year-old grew up in Kyiv and began his diplomatic career in 1996.

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