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Zelensky: Preferable if Kyiv could disburse payments to refugees abroad

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 29, 2024 11:55 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a joint meeting with Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk and students at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv, on Jan. 22, 2024. (Volodymyr Tarasov / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Kyiv would prefer to have control over the aid given to Ukrainian refugees abroad, to avoid a situation where Ukrainians receive support from both their host country and home country, Zelensky said during an interview with German broadcaster ARD.

More than one million Ukrainians fled to Germany as a result of Russia's full-scale invasion.

"We thank you for supporting our citizens but sometimes this person receives support from both you and us," Zelensky said, arguing that it would be preferable if Ukraine had control over the payments.

"It would be much better for us if Germany supported Ukrainians by giving money to the Ukrainian budget" so that Ukraine could redistribute the money "depending on where the person was," Zelensky said.

Zelensky was also asked if he expects those who fled abroad to return.

"Different people leave for different reasons. In the first days of the war, all borders were simply open," Zelensky said. "It was each person's choice."

Zelensky said he was "grateful to those who came back," not only to fight, but also to work.

These people pay taxes into the state budget or work in important sectors like defense, education, and healthcare, Zelensky said.

He was also specifically asked about men of fighting age who left the country. "There are people who left for various reasons and had legal reasons or legal opportunities to leave," Zelensky replied.

Those who left illegally should return to Ukraine, not necessarily to the front line, but to work so that they pay taxes in Ukraine, Zelensky said.

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