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The Guardian: Ukrainian refugees fear that bills from



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With energy bills adding to the pressure on their hosts, some refugees are choosing to return home, The Guardian reports. As an uncertain and potentially costly winter approaches, governments are scaling back support programs for Ukrainians

During the six months of war in Ukraine, countries bordering Ukraine, as well as others across Europe, launched an unprecedented effort to help millions of Ukrainian refugees.

Governments funded emergency relief programs and millions of ordinary citizens volunteered to provide food, clothing and shelter.

But as an uncertain and potentially costly winter approaches, governments are scaling back support programs for Ukrainians, while many volunteers who were happy to host a Ukrainian family for a few weeks or months now realize the war could drag on for years . More and more Ukrainian refugees are facing difficulties in getting by.

Some Ukrainian refugees have settled into new lives in Europe and are thriving. Young people and those who are online savvy have been able to access help, find information and connect with people willing to help.

But aid workers say it’s often the older and more vulnerable refugees, especially those who don’t speak English or other languages, who don’t know where to turn and can end up on the streets.

Even those with money face the uncertainty of not knowing when it might be safe or possible to return home, as well as host populations that could turn hostile over time, B1 TV reports.

In Poland 62% of survey respondents believe that supporting Ukrainian refugees has become “too expensive”

Even in Poland, which has taken in more refugees than any other country and where aid to Ukraine and Ukrainians has been considered a matter of national pride, a recent survey found that 62% of respondents believed that supporting Ukrainian refugees had become ” too expensive”.

With winter approaching, it looks like the fighting will continue and large areas of Ukraine could be left without heating, leading to predictions that new refugees could arrive in Europe and Finland.

Ada Wordsworth, a British volunteer who has been working in and around the Polish border town of Przemyśl since the beginning of the conflict, said the number of people crossing the borders was much lower now than in the spring and that most Ukrainians now had a destination in mind before to cross the border, after talking to friends or family who are already abroad.

But nevertheless, every day there are people who cross without knowing where to go next.

“The people coming through now are the most traumatized people I’ve ever met and there’s just not much to offer. Imagine, they’ve been staying in their houses all this time, so something very bad must have happened to them for them to leave now,” Wordsworth said.

Refugees who have returned home have realized that it is better to be poor in Europe than to be bombed in Kharkiv and are leaving again

She said she kept in touch with many of the people she met at the border when they arrived in Poland, and they later told her they were returning home because they were unable to settle in Europe.

“I met a lot of people who came back because things are too difficult in Europe, but then they get back to Kharkiv and realize that it’s better to be poor in Europe than to be bombed in Kharkiv, so they I’m coming back again,” she said.

The situation varies from country to country, but in Europe many Ukrainian refugees have faced problems with access to healthcare and education.

Some parents are unsure about sending their children to schools in their new countries where their children will not be able to speak the local language, especially if they hope to return home soon.