The weeks behind and those ahead
As the war in Ukraine rages on for its fourth week, the world continues to digest news of Ukrainian strongholds in defense of its country against Russian invaders. Although the Russian military is significantly larger, Ukrainians continue to fight for themselves and their loved ones, surpassing even the most optimistic expectations of international onlookers.
Europe has received thousands of refugees, as Ukrainians flee Ukraine through any option necessary. Many Ukrainians sought to move out West, where Russian bombardment was more constrained due to their limited presence and resources in the area. However, now it seems it is not as safe as before. Many Ukrainians fled via train and were lining up in Lviv to cross the border by train and foot into Poland, where there are several centers accepting refugees and providing shelter and food while working to help them in the next steps of their journeys. Access points into Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, and Moldova are still heavily resourced to welcome refugees and help them with immediate needs. Translation services and Ukrainian-speaking as well as Russian-speaking volunteers are available at all these points. Many Ukrainians who have fled are staying to volunteer to help others who have come after them.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine
Weeks have passed and Europe and its neighbors continue to welcome Ukrainian refugees into an international rally of support for the underdog in this grotesque and criminal battle against a powerful enemy. At the beginning of March, the United States announced Ukraine is now a designated country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which you can read more about in our TPS-oriented blog. With TPS now available for Ukrainians, any Ukrainian that has been in the U.S. since March 1, 2022 can apply. Along with TPS, you can apply for work authorization – an employment card (EAD), and work legally in the United States.
UNHCR’s statement on Ukraine
UNHCR, the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees, released a statement recently to assist those seeking answers and for those who may have loved ones in Ukraine. Their statement gives some information on the ways the United States and the UN are responding to the current crisis in Ukraine and what can be done to aid those seeking refuge in the U.S. The following is information directly from UNHCR’s website:
The situation within Ukraine and neighboring countries continues to develop and resources as well as information is changing constantly. If you’d like to learn more about the developing situation, you can click on any of the following links:
• UNHCR Situation Portal: Ukraine Situation | Global Focus
• UNHCR Operational Data Portal: Ukraine Refugee Situation
• UNHCR Ukraine Help Page: Help Ukraine
• UNHCR Non-Return Advisory: Position on Returns to Ukraine
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has established an emergency hotline for foreign students trying to leave Ukraine. Foreign students can call 380-93-418-5684 on Viber or Telegram. Foreign students can also complete this questionnaire to receive information on available evacuations.
For individuals who remain in Ukraine and are in need of humanitarian assistance, you can contact UNHCR Ukraine (or a partner agency) through the links below:
I. UNHCR Ukraine:
• Address: 16, Lavrska St., Kyiv, 01015
• Telephone for internally displaced people: 0-800-307-711 (Monday to Friday from 09:00-18:00)
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
• Telephone: +380 (44) 288 9710
• Twitter: @unhcrukraine
II. Contact UNHCR Ukraine partner organization:
• Right to Protection – provides social assistance to refugees, asylum seekers and
internally displaced persons, in partnership with HIAS
▪ In Kyiv: Address: 55, Shchekavytska St., Kyiv, 04071
Phone: +38 (044) 337-17-62, Mob.: +38 093 049 52 18, +38 094 905 67 62
WhatsApp/Viber: +38 093 038 95 62
▪ In Kharkiv: Address: 85, Chernyshevskaya St., Kharkiv, 61024
Mobile: +38 (057) 751 17 64, +38 (094) 811 17 64
▪ In Lviv: Address: 13 Shota Rustavely St., office 10, Lviv
Mobile: +38 (093) 023 08 55, Phone: +38 (032) 276 19 21
III. List of organizations that are ready to provide shelter, food, clothing, and hygiene products in Ukraine
UNHCR is operating in many of Ukraine’s neighboring countries. If your loved one has successfully reached a neighboring country, they should contact a local UNHCR office when figuring out their next steps. At this time, there is no active UNHCR resettlement program for Ukrainians to the United States.
A list of relevant UNHCR offices include the following:
Additionally, some Ukrainians from persecuted religious minority groups may be eligible to reunite with family in the U.S. through a program known as the Lautenberg program. This program enables a U.S. permanent resident, asylee, refugee or citizen to petition for certain qualifying family members. As of March 3, 2022, new applications for this program were not being accepted, but this could change. For more information on the program, you can check here.
Asylum and Related Protection in the United States
Asylum is a form of relief for people who are seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Applying for asylum may be an option for some Ukrainians currently residing in the United States, but you need to be in the United States to apply, much like TPS.
You can learn more about aslyum through USCIS’s website here. Additional information can be found here via UNHCR.
If you are finacially able, you can donate to several organizations directly aiding Ukrainians and their fight for their nation. Below is a list of partners and organizations that you can look into for donations. World Central Kitchen is also an excellent organization providing hot meals to refugees as they make their way across country borders. You can make a donation here.
To review UNHCR’s pdf in full, you can access this link and review their PDF.
Goldstein & Associates is eager and willing to work with families and individuals from Ukraine to bring their family members to the United States. No matter your finances, contact us today for a free consultation in English or in Russian. This story is ongoing and new resources and opportunties are becoming available each day. Please check our most recent blogs for updates. We hope to have more information regarding options for Ukrainians soon.
If you or a loved one are in Ukraine and are looking for a way to safely evacuate and come to the United States, we urge you to contact our office for legal guidance and to evaluate your options. We would be more than happy to connect you with a member of our staff to discuss your situation and come up with action plans during this chaotic time. You can call our Pittsburgh office at 412-258-8080, our Philadelphia office at 215-982-2381, or schedule a free phone or zoom consultation on our site using this link. English, Spanish, and Russian language options are available. We look forward to working with you. Keep safe.