Stenbock House, 1 March 2022 – During a cabinet meeting today, the government was given an overview of activities related to Estonia taking in refugees from the war in Ukraine and allocated 1.3 million euros to cover initial critical costs.
The 1.3 million euros being allocated to the Ministry of Social Affairs comes from the government reserve and is designed to be used for initial arrangements in taking in refugees. Further debate on accepting those fleeing the war in Ukraine and the costs related to doing so will take place in subsequent cabinet meetings.
Another decision made by the government during today’s cabinet meeting was to change the border-crossing rules introduced to hinder the spread of coronavirus so as to make arriving in Estonia easier for Ukrainian refugees and their family members.
According to the change, Ukrainian citizens, their spouses and direct dependents of all ages will not be subject to the restrictions put in place for those crossing the border, including the requirement to present a COVID certificate. In addition to spouses and dependents, the Police and Border Guard Board may allow others (such as partners) into Estonia from Ukraine on humanitarian grounds so as to keep families together. Basic health checks will be guaranteed for all refugees in Estonia.
The government order, which will enter into force on Wednesday, and its explanatory note will be published in Riigi Teataja and on the kriis.ee website.
The first hundred or so refugees from the war in Ukraine arrived in Estonia on Monday in buses organised with the assistance of the Estonian Refugee Council. The majority came to Estonia to stay with relatives or acquaintances, but in cooperation with the City of Tallinn, those without anywhere to stay are being provided with accommodation for their first few nights in the country in establishments around the city. The Social Insurance Board is providing those arriving in the country from Ukraine with psychosocial support services around the clock.