According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 6 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the war. Most of them were accepted by Poland and Romania (3.2 million and 889,000 respectively). Some 772,000 have left (or been forced to do so) to Russia and 577,000 to Hungary.
And although individual governments are using friendly rhetoric and providing humanitarian aid to Ukrainians, there are protests against refugees in some countries. Nevertheless, positive attitudes still prevail in most countries.
"It is a common phenomenon that unconditional solidarity with war refugees weakens over time in neighboring host countries. Socio-economic tensions can trigger spontaneous social reactions, including violent ones," Zsolt Zádori, spokesman for the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), said.
The benefits that refugees receive are becoming a point of contention in host countries. The narrative that governments care more about refugees than about their own citizens is present in all of these countries and is exacerbated by the messages of far-right parties. In Bulgaria, the pro-Russian Varazhdane Party spreads fake news about Ukrainian refugees, claiming that many Bulgarians live in poverty and instead of taking care of them, the state and the EU focuses all attention on Ukrainians.
The Czech far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy Party has also criticized the government for providing aid to refugees. In Poland, the anti-Ukrainian message is also present. The Confederation claims that refugees enjoy too many privileges. Despite this, more than 90 percent of Poles still believe that refugees should be helped.