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Poland gets a loan to help it look after Ukraine refugees

June 24, 2022 GMT
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 23, 2022. European Union leaders are expected to approve Thursday a proposal to grant Ukraine a EU candidate status, a first step on the long toward membership. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 23, 2022. European Union leaders are expected to approve Thursday a proposal to grant Ukraine a EU candidate status, a first step on the long toward membership. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 23, 2022. European Union leaders are expected to approve Thursday a proposal to grant Ukraine a EU candidate status, a first step on the long toward membership. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 23, 2022. European Union leaders are expected to approve Thursday a proposal to grant Ukraine a EU candidate status, a first step on the long toward membership. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 23, 2022. European Union leaders are expected to approve Thursday a proposal to grant Ukraine a EU candidate status, a first step on the long toward membership. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland is getting a loan of 450 million euros ($474 million) from a bank linked to a European human rights group to help it cope with the influx of refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Poland and the Council of Europe Development Bank signed the loan agreement Friday.

The Council of Europe has 46 member countries, including EU nations, and aims to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Paris-based bank was founded in 1956 and finances projects with a social mission.

Some 4.3 million refugees crossed into Poland after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Poland is providing them with free shelter, social and medical care, education and job opportunities.

Many have moved on to other countries and some have decided to go back home, but an estimated half of the number remain in Poland.

On the sidelines of a EU summit Friday in Brussels, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the bloc was slow to compensate Poland for the weapons and other military equipment Warsaw has given to neighboring Ukraine to support its defense against Russia. But he said he was confident the money would arrive eventually.

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Morawiecki said there was no disagreement between Poland and the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, on the current financing of care for Ukrainian refugees. He said his government can transfer funds for that purpose from other areas of the state budget, but did not cite any figures.

“The Poles are helping Ukraine because Ukraine is fighting also for Poland ... for peace and security in all of Europe,” Morawiecki said. “There is the tribute of blood on their side, on our side there is aid, in solidarity.”

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine