Lithuania to resettle nationals from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine

Crimea
Reuters/Scanpix

“We’re ready to receive 30 Lithuanians from Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk. Financing has been envisaged, and our programme may be launched after the resolution is adopted and published,” Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius told reporters after a government meeting.

Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has told BNS that six families have expressed wish to settle in Lithuania.

The families coming from Ukraine will be offered assistance to easier integrate into the new environment, i.e., temporary housing, social benefits, lessons of the Lithuanian language and vocational training, as well as territorial distribution of the resettled persons.

In Butkevičius’ words, the integration programme will last a year.

The head of the government said the exact costs of the programme was yet to be finalized and would depend on specific circumstances. However, he guaranteed that additional money would be provided from the government’s reserve, if necessary.

The decision to resettle Lithuanians and their families to Lithuania was made due to “complex security and humanitarian situation” in Crimea and the Luhansk and Donetsk areas. In March 2014, the Crimea peninsula was annexed by Russia. Donetsk and Luhansk have been locked in a conflict between Ukraine’s government forces and Russian-supported separatists since April of 2014.

A total of about 10,000 people of Lithuanian descent currently live in Ukraine, while the number of officially registered Lithuanian citizens is about 1,500.

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