Three flights will bring Ukrainians fleeing the onslaught of the Russian military to Canada from Poland, the Canadian government announced Wednesday.
While the number of Ukrainians who will board the flights over the next few weeks is unknown, they will be drawn from more than 90,000 that have been approved for emergency travel, said Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
“We’ve seen so far about 92,000 approvals through the emergency program largely since the end of March and it’s being processed now quite quickly so I expect that number to continue to grow,” Fraser told reporters, Wednesday.
The arriving Ukrainians will land in three different cities. The first plane will depart Poland on May 23 destined for Winnipeg, May 29 for Montreal, and June 2 for Halifax. Seating will be handled on a first-come basis.
“Canada is doing everything it can to support Ukrainians before and after they arrive in Canada," Fraser said in a government news release. "Millions of Ukrainians have been displaced and forced to flee their homes, and these charter flights will help make sure that those who want to come to Canada have the support they need.
"We’ll continue to work with provinces and territories, settlement organizations, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to make sure Ukrainians feel at home in their new communities."
The flights are in addition to a special Ukraine2Canada Travel Fund, an initiative of the organization Miles4Migrants, Air Canada, and the Shapiro Foundation. That partnership is expected to provide "at least 10,000 free flights for those fleeing Putin's war," the government statement said.
Since Russia's military operation began on Feb. 24, thousands of Ukrainians have arrived in Canada.