ATHENS – While accused by human rights groups of pushing back other refugees, Greece took in 7,759 from Ukraine who fled Russia’s invasion, 20 percent of them under the age of 18.
The Migration and Asylum Ministry said that just under 54 percent were aged over 35 years old and 26 percent were in the 18-34 age group after denying it was pushing those from other countries back to keep them out.
From the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24 up to April 30, the ministry also received 13,147 applications from Ukrainian nationals requesting temporary protection and aid.
Some 56 percent were filed with the asylum office in the Greek capital and 29 percent were in Thessaloniki in the north, Greece’s second-largest city and major port, said Kathimerini.
Not one was staying at the short-term accommodation facility in Serres on April 30, the ministry added, saying that 164 refugees were at its long-term housing facilities in the same part of northern Greece then.
An additional 133 Ukrainians had been put up in apartments in Elefsina, in Attica, through the European Union-funded Hestia program which helps Greece deal with refugees and migrants.
The backlog of pending asylum applications was down 52 percent compared to April of 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ministry approved 45 percent but rejected 19 percent, the paper said.