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Despite Biden’s offer, many Ukrainians uninterested in coming to U.S.

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“I have lived in Ukraine all my life,” said Vergun, 52, a grandmother from near Chernihiv who was waiting to collect some of the donated diapers and shampoo being handed out by volunteers. “We want to go back to our motherland as soon as possible.”

Vergun’s faith that war in Ukraine would be a short-term affair was common among those still reeling from their rush to escape. For now, staying in Poland or other neighboring countries offered their best hope of resuming normal life as soon as possible. Not many Ukrainians in Warsaw have expressed a wish to go beyond the bounds of Poland or surrounding Europe.

“Mostly they are asking to travel to Italy, Germany, Spain. We’ve only had a few ask about the U.S.,” said Rostyslaw Sydoruk, one of the agents registering new arrivals at the center, which has processed more than 10,000 Ukrainian refugees.

Whether Biden’s announcement would open new high-volume paths across the Atlantic for Ukrainians remained unclear Friday. White House officials said the new initiative would channel refugees through a number of existing programs but offered no additional details.

Refugee agencies in Poland said they had not gotten advance notice of the expansion but welcomed any measure that would ease the burden of caring for more than 3.5 million Ukrainians who are on the move.

Christopher Boian, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, called the U.S. announcement “an important demonstration of solidarity not just with the refugees fleeing Ukraine, but with the European countries that have already received millions of them.”

But “for the details of how this commitment will be implemented, you need to speak to the U.S. government,” he said.

Many Americans have said they are ready to help Ukrainians if they come. Refugee workers said they are hearing from hundreds of U.S. citizens asking how they can host Ukrainians.

One of them was retired Californian physician Muthiyaliah Babu, who emigrated from India in the 1950s and contacted the United Nations to be part of his adopted country’s response to the Ukraine war. He and his wife agreed they could easily accommodate a small family in their Santa Barbara home.

“They told me most of them wanted to stay in Poland, which I understand if they really have a chance of going home,” Babu said. “But if they are going to let them in, we are ready to help.”

As word of the U.S. offer spread through pockets of Ukrainian refugees throughout the Polish capital, it was met with both excitement and skepticism. Many Ukrainians have tried without success to immigrate through regular channels to the United States for years. They were dubious that the barriers would drop.

“A lot of people don’t believe it’s true,” Olena Bessarabchuk, said of the possibility of a fast track to North America. “It’s always been so hard to get a visa for America.”

Bessarabchuk, who traveled from Odessa, Ukraine, with four family members and a dog, had lined up for hours outside of Warsaw’s main soccer stadium to be registered to work and receive benefits in Poland. She is among the many Ukrainians who plan to wait out the war here.

Yana Khomotiuk, in the same crowd, was keen to reach the United States but skeptical that the new program would benefit her. In the early days of the war, she said, she applied for a visa through the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv but was turned down, despite having relatives in Oregon.

“I want to go there; I have to go there,” she said, rolling her baby carriage back and forth to keep her infant asleep. “I can’t stay in Poland forever.”

But for the young mother whose husband was at home fighting a war, not even the possibility of a path to America was much comfort. With her eyes filling with tears, Khomotiuk seemed to reach the limits of optimism.

“For me, hope or no hope, it doesn’t matter,” she said. “I have no place to go.”

Julia Alekseeva contributed to this report



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BP scales back green targets as profits hit record

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Andrew Griffith, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the windfall tax struck the “right balance” between helping families with the cost of living and securing the UK’s energy supplies. He said its aim was to encourage re-investment of the sector’s profits back into the economy



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Landmark national security trial of Hong Kong democracy activists begins. Here's what you need to know

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Some were seasoned politicians and veteran protest leaders. Others were academics, unionists and health care workers. They hailed from different generations and held a range of political views, but were brought together by what they say was a shared commitment to Hong Kong’s democratic future.



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Texas deputies stop driver hauling 13 illegal immigrants wearing camouflage clothing

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Deputies in Zavala County, Texas, caught nearly two dozen illegal immigrants during four separate traffic stops early Sunday, including 13 migrants smuggled in a pickup truck while cloaked in camouflage clothing, authorities said.

In total, the sheriff’s office said it apprehended 22 illegal immigrants, while 10 others fled after bailing from the vehicles.

In one case, the sheriff’s office said a deputy stopped a black Chevy pickup for a traffic violation on U.S. 57 east of La Pryor. As the deputy went to speak with the driver, he spotted multiple individuals wearing camouflage clothing lying in the bed of the truck.

The deputy then found more individuals inside the vehicle with the driver, who claimed they were all her cousins, according to officials.

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Illegal immigrants dressed in camouflage were being smuggled into the country by a Texas woman on Highway 57, police said.

Illegal immigrants dressed in camouflage were being smuggled into the country by a Texas woman on Highway 57, police said. (Zavala County Sheriff’s Office)

The driver, Samantha Renee Dela Fuente of San Antonio, was charged with smuggling, FOX29 San Antonio reported. Officials said the 13 undocumented individuals were turned over to Uvalde Border Patrol.

In a second incident, a deputy pulled over a Chrysler van for a traffic violation. When the deputy exited his cruiser to approach the vehicle, it sped away and prompted a short pursuit.

Deputies found 13 illegal immigrants dressed in camouflage in a pickup truck.

Deputies found 13 illegal immigrants dressed in camouflage in a pickup truck. (Zavala County Sheriff’s Office)

The driver eventually bailed, and three illegal immigrants were apprehended. Deputies said five other undocumented individuals had fled the scene.

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Deputies said two other illegal immigrants were found hidden in the back of an SUV during a traffic stop on U.S. 57 east of Batesville. The driver had bailed and fled.

Deputies arrested the driver, who was not immediately identified, and turned over the illegal immigrants to Border Patrol officials.

Deputies arrested the driver, who was not immediately identified, and turned over the illegal immigrants to Border Patrol officials. (Zavala County Sheriff’s Office)

A fourth traffic stop on a blue Chevy Malibu resulted in another short chase until the driver and other individuals bailed from the vehicle into the brush at the West Wind Ranch, the sheriff’s office said.

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Deputies apprehended three individuals while about five other suspected illegal immigrants escaped.

All the apprehended illegal immigrants were turned over to Border Patrol, the sheriff’s office said.



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