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BERLIN (AP) — More than 244,000 people applied for asylum in Germany last year, and more than 1 million Ukrainian refugees came to the country looking for shelter from Russia’s war, the government said Wednesday.

The No. 1 country of origin for asylum-seekers was Syria, followed by Afghanistan, Turkey and Iraq. Ukrainian refugees don’t need to apply for asylum, because they immediately received temporary residency status.

Compared to 2021, the number of asylum-seekers went up last year by 27.9%. Especially during the last three months of 2022, numbers increased as asylum-seekers tried to reach Germany through the Balkan route.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “war of aggression against Ukraine has triggered the largest flight movement in Europe since World War II,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said, thanking Germans for welcoming refugees from Ukraine with overwhelming support.

“In other parts of the world, too, people are fleeing war and terror, as reflected in the significant increase in the number of asylum applications filed in 2022,” Faeser added.

She said that the government was trying to integrate those who arrive in Germany faster than in the past by offering language classes immediately, among other measures. The government is also trying to speed up deportations of those whose asylum pleas are rejected.


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