A series of recent missile strikes by Russia against Ukrainian cities, including Lviv, the western city that has been housing a large number of the internally displaced Ukrainians, has increased the likelihood of a new wave of Ukrainians. But other factors - including potential energy disruptions in Ukraine this winter and in food and fertilizer exports leading to famine in Africa - are also expected to impact the number of migrants from Ukraine and Africa.
These and other issues were addressed in a panel discussion, sponsored jointly by the Center for Immigration Studies and the Hungarian Migration Research Institute, on Thursday, October 13 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Experts from the United States and Europe examined the refugee and internally displaced person (IDP) challenges produced by the war and faced by Ukraine, Europe, Africa, and the United States.
Attendees heard from researchers who have recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Ukraine about internal displacement and the energy situation as winter approaches, and heard how Ukrainians are coming to the U.S. now, and what we might expect in the future.
Nayla Rush, Senior Researcher, Center for Immigration Studies
Viktor Marsai, Director, Migration Research Institute
Kristof Gyorgy Veres, Andrássy National Security Fellow, Center for Immigration Studies
Monika Palotai, Visiting Research Fellow, Hudson Institute
Mark Krikorian, Moderator, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies
Date and Location:
October 13, 2022
MARK KRIKORIAN: Good morning. My name is Mark Krikorian. I’m executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
And we are hosting this panel today to look over the horizon a little bit about what the United States and Europe can expect with regard to refugee and migration flows from Ukraine. When the war started nearly eight months ago now, when the Russians invaded February 24th, there’s been a – there was a lot of coverage early on of the large numbers of Ukrainians who were leaving – you know, going through Poland and Hungary and Romania, many of them staying there, many of them going on to Germany and elsewhere – as well as initially significant numbers of people crossing the Mexican border. And then there was a program announced so that there’s been – there was early on a lot of talk about what was going on with Ukrainian refugees and migrants. But there hasn’t been as much since then. And I – we thought it was worth looking ahead at what may very well be new waves of people coming out of Ukraine or caused by the Ukraine conflict even if they’re not coming from Ukraine. And so we have a panel to talk about some of these issues.
We’re going to start with Nayla Rush, who’s a senior researcher at the Center for Immigration Studies. She focuses specifically on refugee policy and is – has a paper, an upcoming paper from the Center looking at the first six months of U.S. – of Ukrainian refugees with regard to the United States and how we’ve responded to it, what has happened here. And so that’s going to be kind of the look at what has happened, at least with regard to United States policy.
The next speaker’s going to be Kristof Veres, who is a visiting fellow at the Center but is with the Budapest-based Migration Research Institute. And he is – he and Monika, the next speaker, returned from a trip in Ukraine, and he’s going to be talking about the internally-displaced people – the people who aren’t technically refugees yet because they haven’t left their countries – their country, but who are in a sense sort of potential refugees because of their problems. They are the ones who have already left their homes and have kind of started to uproot themselves. And so he’s going to tell us a little about what he saw on his visit to – his trip around Ukraine.
The next speaker is going to be Monika Palotai, who’s a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute here in Washington. And she focuses on EU law and international law. What she’s going to be talking about is the potential for energy problems – basically, the gas being cut off – and that may not matter in the summer, but it sure does matter in the winter, as many invaders of Ukraine and Russia have found out over the centuries – and whether that is likely to spark new flows out of Ukraine.
And then, finally, kind of a – something that people really aren’t thinking about, which is the effect of reductions in grain and fertilizer exports which help feed many countries in Africa and the Middle East. And to speak on that issue is Viktor Marsai, who is the director of the Migration Research Institute in Hungary and an expert on Africa issues. He’s traveled to a number of countries where if it’s in your passport you have trouble getting into the United States, so I’m glad he was able to make it. And this, obviously, is of greatest importance to Europe because, you know, Europe is both the first place that people from Ukraine and from Africa would go to, but given what’s happening at our border, obviously, this is a relevant issue to the United States, too, because the Biden administration has essentially put out an invitation to anyone around the world to cross our border. A number of Ukrainians initially took him up on that offer. And we have small but growing flow of African illegal immigrants, too, as Todd Bensman, one of our researchers, has documented quite extensively.
So I think this is – this is something that I hope will shed light on what’s coming, not what – not just what had already happened. And so what we’ll do is each of the speakers will go in turn and then we’ll take some Q&A. So, Nayla, why don’t you start?
NAYLA RUSH: Hi. Can you hear me?
MR. KRIKORIAN: Yeah.
MS. RUSH: Thanks for coming. Thank you, Mark. Thanks, everybody, for being here.
What I’m going to do is talk about what lies ahead for the millions of Ukrainian refugees. As the crisis stretches in time and space, we should witness movements of onward migration even beyond Europe as well as new refugee flows.
So a couple of notes here before I start. We are witnessing new developments every day which, obviously, I cannot cover. But if anything, these reinforce the hypothesis I present to you today, which is that the future likely scenario is one towards new refugee flows and onward migration in and outside Europe instead of large-scale returns.
This presentation is derived from a report I wrote on Ukrainian refugees six months into the crisis. Well, now it’s beyond six months. You can find it on our website when it’s up, hopefully next week. And I have solicited a number of the various organizations and think tanks I based my report on just for you to have an idea.
So let’s start with the numbers. These are your initial numbers for the first six months of the conflict. Seven million Ukrainians – mostly women and children because, as we know, men aged 18 to 60 are not allowed to leave Ukraine – sought refuge across Europe since the recent Russian invasion. Four million registered for the EU temporary protection. So why this discrepancy? Because 2.5 million went to non-EU countries which do not have temporary protection. And only 25,000 applied for asylum in the EU.
Most refugees flee to neighboring countries, but this initial movement can be followed by onward migration depending on welcoming policies and protection but also on diaspora and economic opportunities. There is no legal ground for distribution of Ukrainian refugees among EU member states. Onward migration here follows personal initiatives.
So Ukrainian refugees choose the country they want to settle in and apply for temporary protection. For example, of the 5.6 million who fled to Poland, only 1.3 (million) applied for TP there.
One word about this temporary protection. It looks like it’s not going to be that temporary. Actually, it was just announced that it will be extended through 2024. Also, those who decide to return to Ukraine can keep their protection – a measure, I believe, aimed at inciting returns.
Permanent return is not on the agenda for the majority of Ukrainian refugees for a number of reasons. Many come from provinces that are now controlled by Russia. There are superstitions of hostilities that undermine reconstruction attempts. Also, research show(s) that women and children have a relatively low probability of returning, especially the longer the war lasts and the children are rooted in schools.
UNHCR calculated border crossings in and out of Ukraine from February to August. You can see the numbers. Movements back to Ukraine do not necessarily indicate sustainable returns as the situation across Ukraine remains highly volatile. So most return(s) of refugees are not permanent but what we call pendular, meaning these are back-and-forth movement(s) to visit family, get supplies, or help other relatives evacuate. According to IOM, only 10 percent of refugees returned home with the intention of staying. Even then, returns may not be long term.
So will we see future flows? As the conflict stretches in time and space, more Ukrainians, obviously, will want to flee their country. Plus, men could decide to join their spouses when the restrictions on their group is lifted or even in defiance of an ongoing mobilization, which means that part of the family union can be taking place out of Ukraine and not in the other direction.
So the idea that all Ukrainians want to return home is not supported by data on migration intentions. According to the World Gallup Poll, even prior to the February 24 invasion 25 percent of the adult population in Ukraine wish to migrate for various reasons, including corruption, ongoing violence, lower living standards, and inviting diaspora. So 25 percent of those wanting to leave corresponds to about 12 million people. That is an important number. So now that this preexisting desire to leave has forcibly become a reality for millions of Ukrainians, many will want to hang on to this reality and not go back even if the conflict ends. Which means that the refugee flow created by this conflict could turn into a permanent one for millions who wanted out anyway.
The preferred destinations of Ukrainians before this recent conflict gives us an idea of the distribution of Ukrainian refugees today. Of those who wanted to leave Ukraine before, around half wanted to move to EU countries like Poland, Germany, Italy, et cetera. Outside the EU, 15 percent wanted to move to the U.S., 13 percent to Russia, and 6 percent to Canada. We can see how the distribution of Ukrainian refugees now fits the narrative of countries listed as favored destinations prior to the crisis. Russia, Poland, Germany, for example, host today millions of Ukrainian refugees. You can see the numbers posted.
Now, outside of Europe, Canada is giving temporary resident visas to Ukrainian(s). From March to October, you had 6,000 applications; 300,000 were approved. As for U.S., we’ll talk about it in a bit. Now, increasing numbers of Ukrainian refugees might be moving out of Europe. Europe’s economy, obviously, is further challenged by millions of Ukrainian refugees and soaring energy prices. Its integration capacity – including job markets, education, housing, et cetera – is close to reaching its limits. With time Ukrainians could find non-European countries, including the U.S., more and more attractive.
So let’s move to the admissions of Ukrainians in the U.S. Since the beginning of the crisis, we have some – a hundred thousand Ukrainians were admitted under a program called Uniting for Ukraine. Those are admitted as parolees. Around 900 were admitted under the Refugee Resettlement Program. Those are admitted as refugees.
So what’s the difference between the two? In a few words, the process to resettle refugees here takes time – over a year. The resettlement program offers a durable solution for refugees. They have to apply for a green card one year after admission. They are provided with multiple federal benefits upon arrival and beyond to help them integrate. Parole, on the other hand, is quick. It’s just an official permission to enter and remain temporarily in the U.S. Parolees have limited access to federal benefits. But a bill was passed by Congress in May to give Ukrainian parolees the same federal assistance as resettled refugees.
So these number(s) I just listed, these newcomers, add to the existing immigrant community of 350,000 Ukrainians who are already here.
I want to talk about Uniting for Ukraine just a little bit more. It is presented as a private sponsorship program and it’s the first admissions pathway which was designed by Biden to admit Ukrainians straight from Europe. So how does it work? You have a U.S.-based sponsor – who, by the way, does not need to be a U.S. citizen or even a green-card holder. They can be parolees, they can be asylees, or even beneficiary of deferred enforced departure – what we call DEDs. So this sponsor, U.S.-based, agrees to provide a Ukrainian beneficiary with financial support during this stay here. But other people or even organizations, like resettlement agencies that are mostly funded by the government, can also offer financial support to facilitate admissions. Ukrainian parolees who now have access to federal benefits can, in turn, sponsor other Ukrainians here. And once again, in case these funds are not sufficient, organizations can intervene to get the process going. In conclusion, what we could end up with is a taxpayer-funded cycle instead of a private one.
So what next? Should we expect more Ukrainians joining their compatriots in the U.S.? A hundred thousand were admitted in just a few months. Could we expect 200(,000), 300,000 next year? Will we witness family reunions in the U.S. with men joining in? We saw before this conflict millions of Ukrainians wished to leave their country to live elsewhere. It would make sense if many of these family reunions were to take place on American soil.
Final thought. We are witnessing new developments with Russian men fleeing their country to avoid military service. Many countries in Europe were quick to close their borders. Two Russians even made it to Alaska.
MR. KRIKORIAN: By boat. (Laughter.)
MS. RUSH: Landed. So are Russian flows – men, not women – towards the U.S. likely? We’ll have to wait and see. But I don’t think the Biden administration is ready for a Uniting for Russia program just yet. (Laughter.)
Thank you for listening, and I look forward to your questions and comments.
MR. KRIKORIAN: OK. Kristof.
KRISTOF GYORGY VERES: Thank you, Mark.
Since the start of Putin’s invasion, more than 7 million people fled to – fled Ukraine. There has been intense media focus on the situation of these refugees, including the EU’s swift and unified response to this emergency as well as frontline countries’ efforts to tackle the greatest displacement crisis since the end of World War II. However, much less attention was paid to those Ukrainians who were forced to flee their homes but for various reasons stayed inside Ukraine despite the fact that their numbers is almost as high as the number of international refugees. My presentation is going to focus on these people – these internally-displaced people, or IDPs.
First, let’s look at the numbers and the macro trends. As of the 26th of September, there are 6.2 million IDPs inside Ukraine countrywide. The average duration of their displacement is 160 days after 240 days of war.
There has been a geographical shift in the distribution of IDPs inside the country. As you can see on the map, the western macro region experienced a decrease of more than 500,000 IDPs in the past month. This is part of a longer trend. The number of IDPs in the western macro region reached its highest level in late May, almost 3 million people, and has been declining ever since. Why? Initially, only the westernmost parts of Ukraine were deemed safe. Consequently, a large portion of displaced people were fleeing to this region. However, after the war became localized to the eastern and southern-eastern parts of the country, people started returning home to the central region and to the Kyiv macro region, while at the same time new IDPs coming from the east don’t always flee all the way to the Polish border. Right now, 63 percent of all IDPs are from the east macro region of Ukraine.
Overall, in the past 10 months there has been a 10 percent decrease in the number of IDPs. The blue columns represent IDPs, the gray one is non-IDPs who intend on leaving their habitual residence, and the green one is returnees. So as you can see, there is a great fluctuation in IDPs because right now almost as many people who used to be IDPs have returned to their homes as the total number of IDPs.
According to a recent IOM survey, presently 2.2 million people – non-IDPs – are actively considering leaving their habitual residence due to the war, due to the start of the heating season, and various other reasons. Among IDPs, 82 percent want to stay in the country; only 3 percent want to move abroad.
In the rest of my presentation, I’m going to focus more specifically on the Lviv region and the city of Lviv, which is the westernmost oblast of Ukraine, bordering Poland. The population of Lviv region is just under 2.5 million people. The population of the city of Lviv is 700,000. I managed to obtain data directly from the Lviv regional military administration. According to their numbers, right now there are more than 250,000 IDPs in Lviv Oblast who arrived and registered and are intending to stay there at least in the – in the short term. A hundred and seventy-eight thousand IDPs arrived in family units with 75,000 children.
People who arrived in the region from territories where active hostilities are taking place initially found temporary shelter in railway stations, then in schools, then in cultural institutions. IDPs housed in schools had to be recently relocated because of the start of the school year at the beginning of September.
The Lviv military administration employed a number of coping strategies to provide more permanent housing for IDPs staying in the region. Obviously, the fastest way is the state’s purchase of newly-constructed or already-existing housing stock. As of the beginning of July, 1,900 apartment buildings has been purchased by the Lviv military administration which can house up to 5,000 IDPs in the region. The problem with this solution is that, first of all, it’s expensive; and it cannot be achieved on a large scale in a matter of months. Another way to increase the existing housing stock is through the repair of existing dormitories, other social infrastructure facilities, and the conversion of nonresidential premises into housing. The Lviv military administration allocated more than 80 million U.S. dollars so far for the repurposing of already-existing social infrastructure to create housing for 20,000 IDPs.
Now, if we add these two numbers together, that’s 25,000. That barely covers 10 percent of the IDP population presently in the Lviv region. At the same time, 250,000 people is 10 percent of the region’s population, which is a lot of people to go there. And obviously, that caused a huge spike in rent prices in the region and more specifically in the city of Lviv, where rent prices increased 9 percent just from July to August. Consequently, renting is not a viable option for a large portion of IDPs, especially because unemployment trends at 31 percent nationally among them. Because of all of the above-mentioned factors, a large number of them staying in the Lviv Oblast are forced to still live in temporary accommodations.
When we visited Lviv, we were surprised to see that local church organizations have an outsized role in caring for IDPs in Lviv. In every church that we went to, there were small shelters housing people from other parts of the country. Usually, they house between 20 or maximum of 40 people. Usually, the people who stay at these church-run shelters are the vulnerable ones – the elderly, the disabled, a lot of children. They have – these church organizations, they have a huge problem right now because they can only rely on their own resources. Every pastor that we talked to said that there is no significant aid coming from abroad.
This means two things. First of all, it seems that international NGOs are focusing their activities on parts of Ukraine heavily affected by the fighting and they are not partnering with these church organizations in the western part of the country, while at the same time there is no direct aid going to these NGOs and church organizations from governments from abroad.
Another camp that we visited in Lviv is called Mariupolis because most of the IDPs staying there originally came from Mariupol, which is now under Russian occupation. This is a modular camp donated by the Polish government built in direct partnership with Lviv City Council. It can house up to 300 people. There are three camps like this in Lviv, housing 1,200 people. These modular units are winter-proof. They can withstand cold weather up until minus-5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why is it important that they are modular? It’s an important factor because they can be reassembled elsewhere. If Lviv doesn’t need these camps anymore, they can just be taken apart and reassembled elsewhere in a – in a matter of weeks. One unit is 220-square-foot big, has two bunk beds for four people, and two closets. So it’s designed for small family units. People can stay in these camps for free for up to six months.
The problem with these camp(s) is it’s not a permanent solution either. The camps are supposed to be a transitory measure for those people who want to stay in the Lviv region and who want to integrate into the city and who doesn’t want to go back to where they came from.
At the beginning of my presentation, I mentioned that there are 6.2 million IDPs in Ukraine. And caring for them is a huge problem, both – (audio break) – and the international community. The problem is that there are much more people who need humanitarian assistance inside the country. These pictures are taken in Borodianka. This is a completely bombed-out neighborhood next to Kyiv. People had to – had to leave these apartment buildings, obviously, and right now they live in a camp, again provided by the Polish government, right next to their bombed-out residential buildings. Technically speaking, these people are not IDPs. They do not show up in our statistics. But at the same time, they also need exactly the same kind of care that those people need who are, by definition, IDPs.
In conclusion, with now winter coming and with the energy crisis – Monika is going to talk about that – the situation of IDPs and other people – between 3 and 5 million people on top of 6 million IDPs – it is going to be a problem because most of the temporary shelters in the western part of the country are running at capacity. A solution would be for more international aid to go to the western parts of the country and more intense partnerships with local NGOs as well as church organizations to help them tackle the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the western parts of the country, too. If more help is not going to go to the western parts to help care for these IDPs and then there’s going to be an escalation in the war with damage to infrastructure, heat generation, and electricity, a large number of these people might be forced to cross international borders and become refugees in Europe. Thank you.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you, Kristof.
MONIKA PALOTAI: Thank you so much, Mark. I just realized that I was in a picture, so actually you can see that I was on the spot and I was able to observe what is going on. Thank you so much, Kristof.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Bring your mic a little closer, Monika.
MS. PALOTAI: Closer. OK.
So I have to admit something. I thought that I was going to be ready with the presentation over the weekend and gather the data and I will be done with that. Now, I was, but then I woke up Monday morning and half of Ukraine was ruined. Most of the infrastructure was bombed/shelled, and the situation changed. This is how volatile the situation is. This is how uncertain everything at the moment.
In early September when we were in Ukraine with Kristof, we traveled to Lviv, Kyiv, and Odesa Oblast. And at that time, we faced the genuine fear of people – government officials and church organizations – that Russia may or would actually destroy the energy infrastructure to disable and crippled Ukraine and actually put more pressure on Europe. And this is what happened when I woke up on Monday morning. Meanwhile, we were also informed that the central government asked church organizations and other NGOs to formulate a plan B in case of partial or full halt of the central – the provided energy by the central government.
(I forward that one ?). Well, I – apparently, I chose the same pictures as Kristof. It was – we were there. This is a full neighborhood, what you can see, and this is how the Russians – this is where the – oh, sorry – this is where the Russians came into the city and they destroyed everything that they could see. And perhaps this is what we can see again in Ukraine after Monday’s and Tuesday’s shellings. As we have seen it on Monday – and I’m sure you’ve seen it on the news as well – and Tuesday, that fear of the Ukrainians was not unfounded.
As of last week, before that shelling, 50 percent of electricity generation was either destroyed, damaged, or occupied. According to the – according to Ukraine’s energy minister, Herman Halushchenko, Russia hit about 30 percent of Ukraine’s remaining energy infrastructure in its missile attack on Monday and Tuesday. That is additional on the 50 percent that was previously ruined, occupied, or just partially damaged. Ukraine also urged civilians on Tuesday not to use domestic appliances like ovens, washing machines to save electricity as millions faced blackouts. Businesses were also asked to cut down on usage.
Now, I would like to remind you that there are also territories in Ukraine that are just recently liberated. There is no electricity and no heating over there. These are additional problems that will come on top. And also, there are territories – so-called red zones – where you can find active fighting which is also lacking electricity and heating and other infrastructures.
I keep forgetting this. I’m sorry.
These are the cities that were targeted on Monday and Tuesday. The IDP hub – the IDP hub that Kristof was talking about – the westernmost biggest city, Lviv – infrastructure was one of the hardest hit. You can see it on the left-hand side, which is pretty close to the Polish border. That’s why internal refugees – IDPs – were seeking refuge there. That was supposed to be the safest city or the safest oblast.
In most cities, power was restored in 24 hours. However, as of this morning there were parts of the attacked cities where heating and electricity was still out. The temperature at the moment in Ukraine ranges between the high 40s and low 50s.
Here you can see the energy infrastructure of Ukraine. And if I go back to the previous one and you compare it, you can see these are pretty much the same cities that were shelled. So that’s intentional. Ukraine was going to be crippled and that was the intention of Russia.
These are the damaged infrastructures. On the left-hand side, you can see it’s not a new tactic from Russia that they are targeting the infrastructure. And on the right-hand side, you can see the new result. But it was not always like that. At the beginning of this year, before the war, the Ukrainian energy sector was one of the most developed in Europe. Ukraine had one of the largest electricity generation capacities, was among the top three natural gas producers, and had the largest underground gas storage in Europe. Ukraine was second only to France in Europe when it comes to the amount of power that the country generates from nuclear energy. It provided more than half of the country’s electricity in 2021. However, Zaporizhzhia, the nuclear plant – I’m sure you have heard about it – which is the largest in the continent, is now shut down. Before Monday’s attack the remaining plants in the country were responsible for about 35 percent of power generation but are under constant assault.
According to the largest – according to the latest government figures, Ukraine has accumulated approximately 2.2 million tons, which is about 24.2 million U.S. tons of coal and 13.5 million BCM of natural gas, which is needed for central heating and electricity generation, which was going to be, actually, enough for Ukraine to survive the winter, given the 35 percent decline in consumption due to the outflow of population and the slump in industrial production. Not only enough, but President Zelensky announced in June that Ukraine began exporting electricity to the EU using an interconnection with Romania, starting with a hundred megawatts. Also, was hoping to bring 1.45 billion from electricity exports to the EU.
This was a major step towards reducing Ukraine and, actually, Europe’s reliance on Russian energy imports. Far-reaching wartime reforms including the – totally reconnecting its – including totally reconnecting its energy to the grid to Europe at this – at the record speed ever. Actually, it was connected just, like, one day before the war broke out. Never happened before. Proper testing was not implemented because the Russians were already at the doors.
Meanwhile, and by that Ukraine could have – yes, I have to say could have –maintained vital energy output while a reliable network of oil and natural gas pipelines has ensured consistent fuel delivery. Additionally, active war was mainly pushed back to the eastern regions, implying that the capital, Kyiv, and the western oblasts are relatively safe. Now, that was Sunday, and then Monday happened and everything changed, so until the critical infrastructures were then targeted by the missiles.
Now, Monday’s strikes – yes, I keep forgetting it – here you can see the nuclear electricity production and where these plants are located. Monday’s strikes hit the terminal generation and the electrical substations that forced Ukraine to suspend electricity exports from the 11th of October, which is Tuesday, I guess, to stabilize its own energy system, which is absolutely understandable.
Therefore, the EU member states will have to face additional decrease in import. In the largest attack carried out on the Ukrainian energy grid since the early days of the invasion, missiles tore into electricity and heating plants across 10 cities. Lviv, Khmelnytskyi, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv – they were left completely without electricity and heating. Attacks, however, continued on Tuesday as well when Russia kamikaze drones just struck on another thermal power plant in Vinnytsia. Later, on Tuesday, again, Russia kidnapped the deputy head of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, detaining him in an unknown location. This is, again, another problem that Europe and, actually, everybody or all the nations across the globe has to face – the nuclear threat of Russia. Nevertheless, the greatest challenges lie ahead as the impending winter will tighten the noose on Ukraine and challenge Europe’s politicians.
Now, why these cities? I have already mentioned that if we put together the two maps these just cover each other. But the system in Europe and in Ukraine is slightly different from the United States. Russia, however, deliberately wants to freeze Ukraine and the European Union as well. On average, in Ukraine 45 percent of the buildings are connected to the central heating system to which the heat is supplied from two main types of facilities.
The first one is the combined heat and power plants that is designed to produce heat and electricity simultaneously. The second one is to the heat plants. While both mainly rely on natural gas, and that’s why it was so important that before the war, actually, Ukraine was able to provide its own natural gas and it has got Europe’s biggest storage as well, and that was important before Monday because it doesn’t exist now. And, also, there are smaller thermal power plants are scattered all around these cities.
Now, the highest share of residential buildings equipped with central heating facilities are Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Dnipro, Petrovske, Kharkiv, Oblast, and Kyiv cities. You could see on the map that these were the cities that were the hardest hit. These cities also rely on the central heating system from 55 (percent) to 89 percent. So they are very reliant. Whenever these infrastructures are done these cities are going to be out of power, without electricity, without heat, without anything, and we are talking about mostly – not high rises like here but what you could have seen on the pictures, what we both showed with Kristof. So it’s not possible to set up gas burners in the middle of the apartment. So they are just going to be out, without – with no electricity at all. And these cities and these infrastructures were intentionally targeted.
Weaponization of energy and keeping the chokehold both on Ukraine and, therefore, on Europe has severe implications. The first one is with the severe damage to the energy infrastructure the country faces blackouts and difficulties in heating just like – just as I explained.
The red zones are a little bit different because active fight is going on there. There is no heat, no electricity. There is nothing over there. The rural areas are especially vulnerable because they are just cut out of everything. The cities are vulnerable as well but for different reasons, as I explained, because when the critical infrastructures are targeted and they are down, these cities are going to be out of energy.
Ukraine traditionally faces harsh winter(s) – actually, the first snow has already arrived to the easternmost part of Ukraine – and that’s why winterization is going to be really crucial at this time. However, it is going to face way more difficulties than before Monday. Giving out blankets, warm clothes, generators, and setting up hotspots, and I’m not talking about internet, in the community centers and cities is going to be crucial.
In the rural areas there is going to be a huge difference because these community centers it’s just going to be one room that is a hotspot. But in rural areas there are no such centers. So what the international NGOs are planning to do and actually they are doing it now, like, every five to 10 houses they’re going to insulate one room – one room that is going to be enough for all that five, 10 houses – and they are going to heat that up. It’s possible to do that because they have – they can have these small burners and it can warm it up. And also don’t forget that they can cook on those little burners as well what you can buy at any stores when you go to camping. This is in high demand, actually, in Ukraine.
However, as Kristof mentioned, depleting aid to local organizations is a huge problem. Yes. The looming nuclear strike, the energy shortage, and the uncertainty of shellings in the previously safe areas, potentially, trigger another wave of refugees to Europe. The situation is quite severe and volatile, as I mentioned. It can change any day. There could be another shelling. There could be another missile strike on the remaining infrastructure, and it doesn’t matter how hard the Ukrainian government and local NGOs are trying to repair those infrastructures. That is possible.
Obviously, information is hard to get. I was trying to get information on the shelling that happened on Monday and Tuesday. But for understandable reasons and for strategic reasons they don’t want to give out the information and provide extra information to the Russians which grids, which infrastructure, is severely damaged and which are not. So we don’t have exact data on that.
The economies of the EU member states are on the rocks, as I’m sure you’ve heard about it, and the question where the EU is going to find the millions to host refugees when it happens. (Eminent ?) inflation, skyrocketing prices, and mandatory demand destruction is also a problem in Europe. That is going to be an issue. Hosting and integrating Ukrainian refugees could cost host nations an estimated $30 billion U.S. in this year alone.
Thank you so much for your attention.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you, Monika.
And now Viktor Marsai is going to talk about one of the sort of secondary migration refugee-related effects caused by this war, and that is the possible effect of generating new flows of people out of Africa because of food insecurity. Viktor?
VIKTOR MARSAI: Thank you, Mark. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome, everybody. It’s a big honor for me to be here on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
My topic is, perhaps, not so close at first sight, the whole grain issue, and we saw the – how the Maslow's pyramid of security studies is working when we are speaking on nuclear or potential of a nuclear war and escalation of war in Eastern Europe. Food security and migration seems secondary or, certainly, issue. But it’s – as Monika mentioned, as energy is weaponized and instrumentalized in this context, we can see food crises/migration in some aspect also instrumentalized and weaponized in the global theater.
The research – the research methodology, which was conducted in the framework of the OTKA Project of the Hungarian Academy of Science based in the National University of Public Service Cooperation with the Migration Research Institute, is trying still to map the consequences of the war and mainly the effect of food crisis in Africa. And it’s very important to underline that the war in Ukraine was and is just the last straw – the last straw that broke the back of the food security in Africa and which led to a, let’s say as experts say, a perfect storm – a perfect humanitarian crisis in the continent.
If you have a look at the numbers – even before the invasion of Ukraine – globally, 1.1 billion people suffered the lack of food security. After the invasion thanks to Mr. Putin, this number rose up 1.6 billion. Currently, the latest data, almost 450 million people around the globe living in acute food insecurity, which means actually that they are on the brink of starvation.
And while we are speaking on the nuclear escalation as a potential, it’s fact on the ground that people are dying because of the famine and starvation in different parts of the Middle East and Africa. According to rough estimations of different NGOs, every fourth second one people die because of malnutrition and starvation. It means that 20,000 people each day is dying currently while we are sitting here in this crisis. Most of them are now in the sub-Saharan part of Africa, Somalia, the Sahel region, and a lesser extent Sudan and South Sudan. And it has also important effects on migration.
Currently, mainly on IDPs in the continent, even before the start of the war there were more than 30 million refugees and IDPs in Africa. After the breakout of the war, it increased almost by 4 million people. And it’s very important to underline that these are the official data, but the unofficial data is many times more.
Just one example. I visited Egypt last October. That time, according to the data of IOM, 6.5 million foreign people were in Egypt, mainly from Sudan and South Sudan, so the sub-Saharan part. Currently, one year later, the data is almost 9 million only in Egypt and only – it’s very important, these are the official data. Unofficial data can say it’s 15 million people, foreign-born migrants currently in Egypt. And the shift is definitely because the deteriorating food situation on the ground.
As I mentioned, Ukraine was just the last straw. Africa is going through a deep humanitarian crisis because of different structural issues which emerged, mainly, the last two years or partially in the last two years. We don’t have time to go through the details. I would like to mention only some of them.
Of course, demographic – the huge demographic pressure still on the continent. The latest report of the United Nations just came out from the world population trends and, definitely, still the population in Africa is booming and it will still booming at the end of this century, while by the mid of this century all other continent will stop in the increase.
Food crisis. Ladies and gentlemen, food crisis has started to increase since May 2020 and there is not stopping this process. Even before the invasion 24th of February, the prices increased of different foods between 50 (percent) and 100 percent. It’s very important. These are, in many cases, not the official number but the real numbers. I visited Addis Ababa in May and people complain to me that official invasion – inflation, sorry – just around 30 percent but the price of, for example, coffee or teff, the grain what they are using, doubled in the last six months before my visit. And after the invasion an additional 50 (percent), 100 percent increase happened also in the prices of food, which means a huge burden of a household. Currently, in many households in sub-Saharan Africa, spending 60 (percent) or definitely 100 percent of their money for food.
Drought. Why the increase of food prices started two years ago? Because of the different effects of climate change. In East Africa four rainy seasons failed in the last two years. And it seems that, unfortunately, the fifth will fail also. In some region, it means that between 80 (percent) and 95 percent of the whole livestock there – because they are a nomadic population here – has already perished.
And ladies and gentlemen, it’s also important to underline, then, for agriculture, if the rains arise, it means that within two or four months they will have crops. But if animals are dying and it happened, it will take between seven and 10 years to gain the same amount of the herds which happened before the famine. It destroyed the whole food supply chain in certain parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. We saw similar drought in West Africa, also the lack of rains in the last one-and-a-half years.
And we shouldn’t forget the effects of the pandemic, ladies and gentlemen, because during COVID-19 these communities have already lived up their reserves. At the beginning of the COVID they could have some reserves to survive, to share it among the – certain communities’ families. Now it was exploded. There’s no any potential to involve more money and food in the system. And as I mentioned, some actors – and it’s very evident – like terrorist organizations or insurgency groups, for example al-Shabaab in Somalia, utilizing starvation to demonstrate themselves as potential actors distributing food or destroy government humanitarian support for the population to jeopardize the credibility of central governments.
We should mention also the shocking energy prices, which also fuel inflation. It’s also common sense and political challenges.
Ladies and gentlemen, we see all the new civil wars in different parts of the continent – South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Sahel – which also make extremely hard to feed the population in different parts of the drought-affected areas. And we should mention also political instability, for example, coups in the Sahel region. Six coups happened in the last two years in different countries of West Africa. It’s very important also to emphasize that it’s a new phenomenon. Africa was the house of coup during the Cold War, but it ceased to exist in the ’90s and the early 20(00)s. Unfortunately, it seems that because of political instability, because of social challenges, coups are returning to the continent.
And the last straw, Ukraine – many African countries – not only in the sub-Saharan part; also in the northern part of the continent – imported most of their grains and different foods from both Ukraine or Russia. For example, in the case of the aforementioned Somalia, it was above 90 percent. But also, for example, in the case of Egypt with its 110 million population, also 80 percent of the food arrived from Ukraine and Russia. It’s almost completely stopped.
And while, for example, Egypt, which has a relatively strong government, still is a dominant regional power and extending networks, it managed to bridge this gap and Cairo found alternative supplying lines. But, for instance, Somalia, South Sudan, as I mentioned, as, let’s say, at least fragile or failed states, they don’t have capacity to find alternative sources. The only potential is the aid from international organizations. But don’t forget that international NGOs and the United Nations and bilateral donors currently have to cope not only to a food crisis in Africa, but also in the Middle East and South Asia, not to mention the refugee crisis from Ukraine which was mentioned by Kristof.
Regularly are focusing on just this food issue, but the Ukrainian crisis has also – and the war has also effects on other sectors, which also contributed to the economic decline in Africa. For example, tourism. In Egypt, 25 percent of tourists arrive from Ukraine and Russia. Now there’s nobody. It means that hundreds of thousands of jobs had disappeared from the system. So they don’t – these people can’t earn money, so they can’t feed their families there also. Or we see the limited number of investment.
We see, of course, less political attention for the crisis both from the West and from Russia and China on the continent. And the new cold war competition which is emerging in the continent, of course, not only in the last month but in the last years, also jeopardized the potential for an international cooperation to tackle somehow with these crises.
What’s the current situation on migration? As I mentioned, actually, mass starvation and actually dying because of malnutrition started since June, which led to the increasing number of IDPs. Peoples are trying to reach refugee camps, settlements, or at least cities where they can find some food, some support, or some job. We don’t know the exact numbers. Of course, in Africa, it’s never a(n) easy issue. Only in Somalia, since the beginning of this year 1 million people wandered to the cities and the refugee settlements. All around the continent, as I mentioned, it can – it must be millions since the beginning of this year, if not tens of millions of people.
We see the effects also on the borders of Europe. Somebody argues that the starving people will flood Europe. No, it’s still not true and it will not be true because it’s not so easy to reach Europe without the assistance of smuggling networks, which cost a lot of money.
Now, in sub-Saharan Africa, it influenced the local political stability – which, of course, later can generate a bigger migration. But who are coming in an increasing number? People from North Africa. Still, if we have a look at the statistics, most peoples coming from Africa in the different Mediterranean routes to Europe, they are coming from the MENA region and from Morocco to Egypt.
What we can see now, the increasing number of people from the middle class who are leaving because of the wrong economic situation and because of the lack of prospectives. It’s shocking, ladies and gentlemen, that visiting Egypt – or, I came back three weeks ago from Tunisia – speaking with young people, everybody – everybody actually, clearly – wants to leave their countries, and the main destination is definitely Europe.
And it’s also some words about the numbers because comparing with the illegal border-crossing attempts in the southern part of the United States, but these numbers are not so high. But international people told me the real numbers are three or four times more what the European coast guards realize because most people don’t want to make a touch with the local authorities because they are afraid to be deported back. So middle class is leaving, and it’s very important that they have still the financial background to make the crossing to Europe in illegal channels.
So, the conclusion, Africa is going through an unprecedented humanitarian crisis which haven’t happened in the last four decades at least. And in the shadow of the war in Ukraine, actually, it’s little hope for more support for the continent.
In the last month, actually, we saw a lot of steps. For example, for the United States, USAID offered $1.4 billion just for East Africa. And it’s also very important to underline that the main donors for the continent still are Western countries and organizations. But watching the number of people suffer, only in East Africa by the end of this year, 50 (million) – 50 million – people will need food supply. It’s just a drop in the ocean. And it will mean a huge burden for Europe, which has already been struggling with multiple challenges from refugee crisis to increasing energy prices and inflation.
So, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. If you have any question, I’m ready to answer it.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you, Viktor.
Let’s – I have some questions but I want to open it up to the audience. Anyone have any questions for any of the panelists or all of the panelists? If not, I’ll ask my own question. Go ahead. Yes, please. Oh, wait for the microphone.
Q: Well, the United States has provided far more military and other aid to Ukraine than any other country. It looks like it’s going to be – it’s over $60 billion. So as an American, I’m inclined to think, well, look, this is – Europe should take care of aiding Ukraine with its energy crisis and its displaced persons.
We’re taking the military part of it and assuming a huge burden. That seems like a fair division of labor to me. We’re building up their military, and the Europeans were probably more inclined with the humanitarian aid. Does that seem like the way – the division of labor here – the way it should be? At least seems like that to me.
MR. VERES: Well, if you look at Poland, for example, up until the beginning of September the Polish government spent more than $2 billion on caring for refugees in Poland. So when we are trying to estimate the costs of this crisis or war, if you just look at the aid, like, that is being sent directly to Ukraine, yes, the United States is sending a lot, much more than Europe.
But if you look at the actual costs, you have the direct costs of caring for these refugees, which is a lot of money, not just in Poland but obvious in other countries, too. But you also have the indirect costs of the energy crisis. Inflation in Europe is much higher right now than here in the United States.
So, and when it comes to the defense industry, just to say a few words about two big countries, France and Germany. The problem with Germany is – and that also might have changed since Monday – is that they have to change this status quo that has been there since the end of the Second World War of not sending a lot of weapons abroad.
With the French it’s different. The French – Macron has this idea of French grandeur. So he’s trying to position himself on the international scale as an arbitrator. If you look at what he’s saying, he’s trying to position himself as if he would be the one who could broker a peace between Russia and Ukraine and for that he doesn’t want to take – we could say doesn’t want to take sides and send a lot of weapons.
The same is true for the number of soldiers that has been trained. France only trained less than a hundred soldiers. That’s not the case in, for example, the United Kingdom.
MR. KRIKORIAN: OK. Anyone else? Yes.
Q: Thank you. Interesting presentations by all.
But a question for Ms. Rush regarding the humanitarian parole. It seems that the administration invents these numbers and I’m curious if you could give more detail on how they arrived at 100,000. I mean, it could have been 200,000. It could have been any other number, as far as I know. But, perhaps, there’s some kind of methodology in the process.
I read yesterday in The New York Times that the administration suddenly invented 24,000 as a number for Venezuelans, and for years we have been doing 20,000 with this humanitarian parole admission for Cubans. And I know many scholars say the presidency doesn’t even have this kind of authority.
But just to tackle the number, why 100,000? Is anyone giving any kind of calculation methodology for that number? Thank you.
MS. RUSH: I don’t think there’s a ceiling, like, with refugee resettlement when you say the president has to set a ceiling of refugees resettled by year and also talk to Congress about it and agree together.
However, I think the parole system is totally a spontaneous ad hoc solution for what are we going to do. In the beginning, the Biden administration said, well, Ukrainians are going to stay in Europe and we’re going to provide Europeans a lot of help for – you know, they don’t want to leave Europe, which is true for the most part.
However, many wanted to leave and come here. And this point, the Biden administration, he was in Brussels and he made this promise we’re going to admit a hundred thousand Ukrainians and we’re going to prioritize family reunions, meaning people who have family here. We always talk about family units.
I think this number comes from the amount of resources that are put to bring these people in and process them and then give them refugee resettlement benefits even though they are not refugees. So a hundred thousand, 125,000, was a ceiling for the refugee(s). A hundred (thousand) could very well be in that range.
However, with the parolees the system is very quick, very fast, and many want to come, and that’s what happened. So they came – 60,000 came through the parole – this system, I was talking about the sponsorship – 20,000 before the system was put in place because what happened is that Ukrainian(s) came to the border and then they were given parole to come in.
So to stop that and not to overwhelm the border even more they created this program so – and they said do not come to the border anymore. We are going to come – bring you here directly, which is a lot of – if you look at the Biden administration, these are pathways they are really pushing forward. Don’t come here. We’ll come and get you and we’ll open a pathway for you to come.
MR. KRIKORIAN: And I think – I mean, to add to what she said, a hundred thousand wasn’t, like, a cap that they had set. It was what they figured they’d be able to handle or, you know, quite honestly, the way things work, the president may have just made it up on the fly. Who knows?
MS. RUSH: Yeah. And, actually, the real numbers could be more.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Right.
MS. RUSH: I mean, if you calculate them tomorrow it could be more than in a month or two months.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Any other questions? I –
Q: I have a question.
MR. KRIKORIAN: OK.
Q: I was happy to hear you say the big role that churches are playing over there helping the IDPs. But you said that the churches weren’t receiving any money from abroad. Did you mean government money? Because churches, historically – most of them are international – historically get money from within the churches and the members of churches worldwide. Is that government money or are they really not getting money at all?
MR. VERES: First of all, when it comes to government aid or aid from international NGOs, they are not really receiving anything. When it comes to private donations from abroad, yes, they are but it’s intermittent.
First of all, it’s intermittent and, second of all, what’s happening in Ukraine now after seven months of fighting is exactly the same thing that was happening in 2015 in Syria. After a while, Ukraine gets out of the news cycle and then donations start dropping – private donations.
Q: We need private donations.
MR. KRIKORIAN: I had a question for – oh, yeah. Viktor, go ahead. I had a question for you, too. But go ahead.
MR. MARSAI: Yeah. Sorry. Thank you, Mark. Just some addition for this whole issue of energy and the donation of U.S. military equipment to Ukraine, comparing with the burden sharing of what Europe is doing.
Ladies and gentlemen, sorry to be brutal, but it’s very important to emphasize and to understand each other in the strategic context that this 60-plus billion (dollars) U.S. aid for Ukraine in a military term, comparing the price of energy crisis and inflation in Europe, it is a peanut. It’s very, very, very important to understand, because what I feel now there’s a huge, huge misunderstanding between the two part of the Atlantic Ocean and – to date. So I’m a committed transatlanticist and I saw very strong efforts for different actors to jeopardize this cooperation. So it’s very important to understand each other.
Germany just accepted a new huge loan – more than, if I’m not mistaken, 200 billion euro support for the energy sector – just for the survival of the German industry.
In Hungary, you know, Hungary produce – I tried to calculate quickly – I think, 2 percent of the GDP of European Union. According to rough estimation, we’ll spend 10 billion additional euro this year until the end of – this period until the end of May to somehow feed the gas into our country.
The price of natural gas in Europe increased in the last month 17 times more. Can you imagine its effects on the whole population? And it’s important that there’s no alternatives for Europe out of gas and it’s our mistakes. In the last 20 years I always heard that, oh, we should diversify, et cetera. Everybody was committed for the diversification. It’s regional, very limited results, because LNG is expensive. Russian gas seemed very, very cheap, et cetera, et cetera.
OK. But now the situation is on the ground and this whole issue will cost thousands of billions of dollars for Europe. And in the long- or mid-term perspective, my estimation is that Europe will need a second Marshall Plan if we want to avoid the collapse of economies. Because if economy will collapse – you know, it’s very evident why the Russian(s) playing this game, you know – it will be a big blow for this whole cooperation.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you. There was a question there first, and – yes?
Q: So I was just wondering how effective were the legal pathways that the Biden administration set up in helping to ease that strain on the southern border from those Ukrainians that were wishing to flee their country? And also, if you could, I’m not sure if any of you guys have looked into this but how effective do you think that this new legal pathway set up for Venezuelans will be at easing that strain as well?
MS. RUSH: The Venezuelan(s) probably, that’s – it just happened so we’d have to see and probably, yes, it is good. The Ukrainians – the fact that they were coming to the border and they told them don’t come – we have a new pathway for you – that, obviously, helped. Obviously, helped.
However, before that the idea was that with border crossers, especially from Central America and the unaccompanied minors, the Biden administration was saying, don’t come here. We’re going to bring you. We’re going to process you and bring you. That didn’t really work well because –
MR. KRIKORIAN: That was a separate – different program. The Central American minors program.
MS. RUSH: Yeah. Central American minors. And so – and being processed in Costa Rica, which is, like, you stay in your region. We’ll process you in Costa Rica and you will get admitted into the United States. Just don’t come here.
It didn’t really work, I think, for many reason(s) but one very, very simple reason if you know the human mind, people want to come fast. They don’t want to apply. They don’t want to be rejected. They don’t know – they don’t know if it’ll work for them. So they just come because they can, you see. So –
MR. KRIKORIAN: And they know we’ll let them go.
MS. RUSH: Yeah. They can. So the point is I don’t think – for the Ukrainians, yeah, they stopped coming through the border, which is, obviously, and they are flying and they are helped financially from here flying directly. They are paying for their flights, unlike the refugees. We lend them money, supposedly, from IOM. So I don’t think these legal pathways are working so much. For some populations, perhaps.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Any other question? Yes.
Q: Yeah. Just a quick comment on the Marshall Plan. We wouldn’t be in this energy situation today if the Obama administration for eight years would not have held back, intentionally, U.S. natural gas production through the APA, through regulatory processes, and would not have – we, in central and eastern Europe, were constantly arguing for them, use your energy resources – your own energy resources – against Russia because if you don’t use it Russia will use it against you, and here we are.
But the one country that we haven’t addressed here is China. You know, everything is crumbling in Europe. It’s starting to crumble in the United States and will because we’re so interrelated, and China is laying back and winning this entire game. And when you hear in August Zelensky talking about, you know, Xi Jinping, potentially, being the rebuilder – the infrastructure rebuilder – of Ukraine, you know, how is this going to play out geopolitically from a great power perspective? Monika, if you want to – or anyone.
MR. KRIKORIAN: I mean, we’re kind of getting off topic, off of migration. So, I mean, we need to wrap up relatively shortly. Are there any other migration questions? I had one for Viktor.
Viktor, so – and this is kind of an observation. But when – what I had thought of is that the food insecurity, which the war compounded, would then lead to people leaving Africa, but we are suggesting is that it’s almost a three-step process, that the war in Ukraine causes food insecurity in Africa, which causes hunger and instability, which then causes people who aren’t starving to be the ones who actually leave. I mean, it’s almost like a domino effect where our policies then, I mean, have multiple – they sort of echo and have multiple consequences.
MR. MARSAI: Yeah, definitely, and it’s true mainly for the sub-Saharan Africa. It’s very important, ladies and gentlemen, that always the middle class is leaving because they have the money to leave. From Ethiopia, the journey to Europe costs between 3(,000 dollars) and $8,000. Sometimes they can make the money during the journey – stopping in Sudan, working something or joining mercenaries, sometimes in a forced way to militias. But ordinary people with limited networks not leaving the continent.
And, yes, we see these two sides of the story in sub-Saharan Africa, when the starvation and the food crisis effects a domino – sorry, a domino effect, and still the middle class considering because of the collapsing state that, oh, it’s high time to leave the country. It’s happening in Ethiopia. One of my good friends – I was there in May. At that time, he was still in Addis Ababa. Now he’s in Fairfax and he will never go back. Very clever, very, very trained people, and it will be a big gain for the United States but a huge loss for Ethiopia.
And the other is the middle class in North Africa. They are not starving, but they are watching the increasing food prices, the limiting potential in the labor market, which was the main root cause behind even the Arab Spring 2011, and there is no prospectives for the young guy. They are trained. They paid for the university. They had ideas to move forward in their life and there’s no possibilities.
And, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the Middle East. It’s not the Western world. If you have no money, no job, nobody will get married with you because it’s – you must be ready to have a flat, to feed your family. It’s shocking to see that in Egypt, when 30 years ago people get married 20, 25, now 30-, 35-(year)-old young people are alone; not because they don’t have love and feelings, but they don’t have the economic background. And they are moving.
MR. KRIKORIAN: OK. Thank you, Viktor. I think we’re going to wrap it up. I’m pretty sure our panelists are willing to be accosted afterwards if you want to talk to them. This discussion will be posted to our website at CIS.org within a few days – next week, I assume. And I thank all of the panelists for coming. Thank you in the audience for attending and hope you tune in to our next event. Thanks. (Applause.)