While refugees in some parts of Estonia must wait until April to apply for temporary protection, new arrivals in Saaremaa were able to start the process on Wednesday.

More than a hundred refugees have arrived on Estonia's largest island so far, ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Wednesday.

One family from the capital Kyiv was on vacation in the Dominican Republic when the war started on February 24. They are now staying with relatives in Kuressaare and spoke to AK.

"Initially, we will wait and then look ahead. Now, our companies are working in Ukraine and we can work remotely from here. Perhaps we can work there now, but what will happen next is difficult to say at the moment," Oleg said.

Julia said: "[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[23]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]] we can stay here, now it is difficult to say. We really hope that this all ends soon and we can go home."

Since the outbreak of war, the Ukrainian flag has been flying in Kuressaare and an information point was set up for refugees.

"Of course, we are able to accept more people, but if we talk about the quality and the services that we can offer schools and all the other things, jobs. Then yes, the number is between 300-400," said the head of the council's crisis unit Gunnar Havi.

The island's police department started issuing temporary residence permits and allowing people to apply for temporary protection on Wednesday. This gives newcomers the same rights as Estonians. Crucially, it means they can find jobs.

Irina and her son, who lived in Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv, were the first people to receive a residence permit from Kuressaare. On the mainland, they would have waited until April for an appointment.

"The most important thing right now is work. We are not afraid to work, we are ready to work. The main thing is to have a salary," said Irina.

The new arrivals said they were being well treated on the island.

Source: ERR


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