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UKRAINE

What special rules have Norway put in place to help refugees from Ukraine? 

The Norwegian government has introduced several measures to help Ukrainians fleeing war in their homeland.

What special rules have Norway put in place to help refugees from Ukraine? 
The Norwegian government has done a number of things to help refugees from Ukraine. Pictured: Refugees wait for a transportation train after crossing the Ukrainian border into Poland, at the Medyka border crossing, southeastern Poland on March 10, 2022. - Photo by Louisa Gouliamaki / AFP.

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More than 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to figures from the UN.

The sheer number of refugees fleeing the country has been called the fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War Two by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Countries across Europe have been working to make sure they have the capacity to take in asylum seekers fleeing the war and devastation in Ukraine.

Norway is no different and is working to establish around 8,000 emergency accommodation places for refugees from Ukraine. The places include a mixture of reception centres for refugees and hotel rooms.

The country has also implemented a number of measures to try and help Ukrainian refugees.

The most significant of these measures is the introduction of temporary collective protection for Ukrainians.

Typically, each asylum application is assessed individually, based on the specifics of the applicant’s situation. However, collective protection grants asylum to an entire group of people, in this case, Ukrainians. The last time the government did this was in the 1990s for those fleeing from Kosovo.

The temporary collective protection is expected to take effect from Friday March 11th. You will need to arrive at the Norwegian border before applying for asylum in Norway.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has also allowed Ukrainian citizens in Norway to stay in the country until further notice, even if their residence permits or visas have expired.

Ukrainians with biometric passports, also called an ePassport, which has an embedded microchip that holds one’s personal information, are able to travel to Norway without needing a visa. Biometric passports are identifiable by the small gold camera logo at the bottom of the document.

If you do not have a biometric passport, you will need to have a visa, residence permit or residence card for Norway to enter the country legally. If you are going to apply for a visa or residence permit to enter Norway legally, you will need to do so at the Norwegian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. The application centre in Ukraine is closed.

However, because of the crisis in Ukraine, the UDI has suspended deportations to the country until further notice, meaning illegal arrivals will be able to stay for the foreseeable future and not be sent back to Ukraine.

The government has also said that it is looking into the possibility of allowing Ukrainian refugees to stay with relatives in Norway without losing the right to financial support.  

Under current rules, asylum seekers risk missing out on financial support from the government if they choose to live in a private residence or with family rather than at a reception centre.

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UKRAINE

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest Sunday with an infectious hip-hop folk melody, boosting spirits in the embattled nation fighting off a Russian invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Riding a huge wave of public support, Kalush Orchestra beat 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania”, a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal right now,” implored frontman Oleh Psiuk in English from the stage after their performance was met by a cheering audience.

In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the triumph was met with smiles and visible relief.

“It’s a small ray of happiness. It’s very important now for us,” said Iryna Vorobey, a 35-year-old businesswoman, adding that the support from Europe was “incredible”.

Following the win, Psiuk — whose bubblegum-pink bucket hat has made him instantly recognisable — thanked everyone who voted for his country in the contest, which is watched by millions of viewers.

“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” Psiuk told journalists.

Music conquers Europe

The win provided a much-needed morale boost for the embattled nation in its third month of battling much-larger Russian forces.

Mahmood & BLANCO  performing for Italy at Eurovision 2022

Mahmood & BLANCO perform on behalf of Italy during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he wrote on Facebook.

“This win is so very good for our mood,” Andriy Nemkovych, a 28 year-old project manager, told AFP in Kyiv.

The victory drew praise in unlikely corners, as the deputy chief of the NATO military alliance said it showed just how much public support ex-Soviet Ukraine has in fighting off Moscow.

“I would like to congratulate Ukraine for winning the Eurovision contest,” Mircea Geoana said as he arrived in Berlin for talks that will tackle the alliance’s expansion in the wake of the Kremlin’s war.

“And this is not something I’m making in a light way because we have seen yesterday the immense public support all over Europe and Australia for the bravery of” Ukraine, Geoana said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom”.

And European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped next year’s contest “can be hosted in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”.

‘Ready to fight’
Despite the joyous theatrics that are a hallmark of the song contest, the war in Ukraine hung heavily over the festivities this year.
 
The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, banned Russia on February 25, the day after Moscow invaded its neighbour.
 
“Stefania”, written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mother before the war, mixes traditional Ukrainian folk music played on flute-like instruments with an invigorating hip-hop beat. The band donned richly embroidered ethnic garb
to perform their act.
 
 
Nostalgic lyrics such as “I’ll always find my way home even if all the roads are destroyed” resonated all the more as millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by war.

Kalush Orchestra received special authorisation from Ukraine’s government to attend Eurovision, since men of fighting age are prohibited from leaving the country, but that permit expires in two days.

Psiuk said he was not sure what awaited the band as war rages back home.

“Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end.

Britain’s ‘Space Man’

Ukraine beat a host of over-the-top acts at the kitschy, quirky annual musical event, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, who sang about bananas while dressed in yellow wolf masks, and Serbia’s Konstrakta, who questioned national healthcare while meticulously scrubbing her hands onstage.

Coming in second place was Britain with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” and its stratospheric notes, followed by Spain with the reggaeton “SloMo” from Chanel.

After a quarter-century of being shut out from the top spot, Britain had hoped to have a winner in “Space Man” and its high notes belted by the affable, long-haired Ryder.

Britain had been ahead after votes were counted from the national juries, but a jaw-dropping 439 points awarded to Ukraine from the public pushed it to the top spot.

Eurovision’s winner is chosen by a cast of music industry professionals — and members of the public — from each country, with votes for one’s home nation not allowed.

Eurovision is a hit among fans not only for the music, but for the looks on display and this year was no exception. Lithuania’s Monika Liu generated as much social media buzz for her bowl cut hairdo as her sensual and elegant
“Sentimentai”.

Other offerings included Greece’s “Die Together” by Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord and “Brividi” (Shivers), a duet from Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco.

Italy had hoped the gay-themed love song would bring it a second consecutive Eurovision win after last year’s “Zitti e Buoni” (Shut up and Behave) from high-octane glam rockers Maneskin.

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