Welcome the stranger, win the war in Ukraine

One of the greatest acts of hospitality in recent history has been Europe’s acceptance of 4 million Ukrainian refugees since Russia’s invasion 18 months ago. While “host fatigue” has emerged in some countries, especially as the war drags on, Russia’s hope that the mass migration would sow divisions in Europe and weaken its support for Ukraine has so far failed.

In fact, one benchmark of success for European backing of Ukraine has been how well the refugees have settled in. The Czech Republic, for example, reported last week that more than half of refugees now pay for their housing, a sign of how many have found jobs. More than 90% of the Ukrainian children attend school. The government is also setting up a center to help refugees deal with the trauma of sexual violence in Ukraine.

Czechia stands out for its hospitality because it ranks highest among European nations in the proportion of Ukrainian refugees to its population, or about 350,000 in a country of 10 million. “The Czech hospitality and welcome of Ukrainian war refugees is a perfect example of European solidarity and kindness,” says Lilyana Pavlova, vice president of the European Investment Bank, which helped finance the country’s settlement program.