(CN) — The European Union granted temporary status to more than four million Ukrainians following Russia's February 2022 invasion of the eastern European country, according to data published Friday by Eurostat.
More than half of non-EU citizens fleeing Ukraine were taken in by Germany and Poland: Germany granted protection to 1.1 million Ukrainians and Poland to 991,375. Czechia took in 8% of the displaced Ukrainians, roughly 340,000 people.
Women account for 47% of Ukrainians granted protected status in the EU, a majority of whom were between 35 and 64 years of age. One-third of the refugees were children, including 10,000 unaccompanied minors. Adult men made up less than one-fifth of the group.
While Germany, Czechia and Romania were still granting tens of thousands of applications for temporary protection as of May 2023, several other countries reported decreases. Poland, Portugal, France and Estonia gave fewer Ukrainians temporary protection in May compared to April 2023.
“Temporary protection is a procedure provided only in the event of a mass influx or imminent mass influx of displaced persons from third countries who are unable to return to their country of origin,” Eurostat explained.
The Council of the European Union agreed to shelter displaced Ukrainians through granting temporary protection status in a decision published March 4, 2022. The designation is meant to reduce strain on the EU's asylum process.
“The Union has shown, and will continue to show, its resolute support for Ukraine and its citizens, faced with an unprecedented act of aggression by the Russian Federation. This decision forms part of the Union's response to the migratory pressure resulting from the Russian military invasion of Ukraine,” the council said in its decision.
Within the first week of Russia’s invasion, more than 650,000 Ukrainians had entered the EU through Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.
Ukrainians did not need a visa to enter EU member states prior to the invasion, but were limited to 90-day stays without the special status. The EU also granted protected status to roughly 80,000 non-EU citizens from other countries who were working or studying in Ukraine at the time of the invasion.
Thousands each month continue to seek asylum from the EU: In March, more than 85,000 individuals applied, including 9,660 Syrians and 9,155 Afghans.
More than 15,000 asylum seekers were from Venezuela, Colombia, and Turkey.
Only 1,160 Ukrainians applied for asylum in March, a sharp decrease from the 12,190 who applied in March 2023.
In March, 42% percent of people seeking asylum in the EU are men between the ages of 18 and 34. Nearly 15,000 applicants were under the age of 14.
In all, EU members took in 384,245 asylum seekers last year, with 44% being granted refugee status, 31% subsidiary protection and 25% humanitarian status.
Roughly 5% of the EU’s 446.7 million people were non-citizens as of Jan. 1, 2022. Nine percent of the population immigrated from outside the EU. In 2021, the EU granted citizenship to 827,300 people.Follow @bright_lamp
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.