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National Bank: Fewer Ukrainians returning than previously estimated

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 3, 2023 9:15 PM 2 min read
Refugees from Ukraine stand on a platform at the Messebahnhof Laatzen station in Laatzen, Germany after their arrival on April 15, 2023. (Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Fewer Ukrainians who fled abroad at the start of the full-scale invasion have returned home than forecasts predicted, the National Bank said in its inflation report for October 2023, published on Nov. 2.

While over 6 million people fled Ukraine during the full-scale Russian invasion, only one million have come back, according to UN figures.

Between June 2023 and September 2023, the number of Ukrainians abroad only fell by around 100,000 people.

The number of people returning to Ukraine is "less than expected," the National Bank reported, citing high security risks as a reason.

In fact, there are likely more Ukrainians abroad than a year ago, as "due to the increased risks of attacks on the energy infrastructure, some citizens are likely to spend the heating season abroad."

As a result, there will be an estimated 200,000 more Ukrainians living outside the country at the end of 2023 than at the end of 2022.

Most Ukrainians who fled the war are in the European Union, where the Temporary Protection Directive allows them live and work inside EU until March 4, 2025.

National Bank: Ukrainian businesses report more pessimistic outlook due to labor shortages
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The countries that host some of the largest numbers of Ukrainians, namely Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic, "announced the winding down of support programs" for Ukrainian refugees, according to the National Bank.

This may encourage Ukrainians to consider their come back to their home country next year.

The Bank estimates that about 100,000 people will return to Ukraine in 2024, and approximately 700,000 people will return in 2025.

However, Ukraine's post-war recovery will require the return of 4.5 million of its people, Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said in an interview published by Forbes Ukraine on Nov. 2.

While polls suggest that the majority of Ukrainians who fled the country want to come home, they will only do so on the condition of "security, housing, and work," the Economy Ministry believes.

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The threat of a demographic crisis has been building in Ukraine for a while but Russia’s full-scale invasion has pushed it to the breaking point. The country had a population of 41 million in 2021, by the government’s reckoning. Now, it hovers around 35 million and experts warn
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