Portuguese police have accused two pro-Russian attendants of illegally collecting and sharing the personal data of Ukrainian refugees in the country.
According to Euronews, the findings were made during the investigation at a support centre hosting Ukrainian refugees near Lisbon, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Portugal, Inna Ohnivets, said that the personal information recorded would be “of interest to Russian intelligence”.
On the other hand, the police revealed that they had searched buildings in Setubal linked to Edinstvo, where they found numerous documents. This spot is an association for Eastern European migrants.
Portuguese media reports that the two pro-Russian citizens had photocopied refugees’ personal documents and had been questioning them about family members left in Ukraine.
Suspected links to the case have pushed the mayor of Setubal, Andre Martins, to resign, while the city council denied knowing about any “suspicious acts or conduct” regarding the matter.
Previously, the Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, has expressed his support for the police’s investigation for some other misuse of data suspects, while President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa called for a probe into the municipality’s process of welcoming refugees.
In addition, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ana Caterina Mendes has noted that the case should be investigated entirely until the very end.
“This government will not allow the law to be violated and — much less — that those who arrive here are not treated with dignity and respect,” Mendes told parliament.
According to data from the Foreigners and Border Services (SEF), more than 25,000 requests for temporary protection filed by Ukrainian nationals have been granted, in March alone, with 9,011 out of these or 35 per cent of the total being minors.
SEF’s data further reveals that before the invasion of Russia, 27,200 Ukrainians lived in Portugal, which currently reaches more than 52,000 citizens, indicating such numbers have almost doubled in one month, representing the second-largest resident community in Portugal, after Brazilians, which peaked at 209,072 residents.
However, data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of May 10, almost six million Ukrainians have fled their country, with the majority of them going to Poland.
More specifically, there are 3,251,955 Ukrainian refugees living in Poland, while Romania has taken a total of 889,674.
Furthermore, a total of 772,121 refugees from Ukraine are currently in Russia and Moldova and Hungary have sheltered 458,242 and 577,820 Ukrainians, respectively. Other neighbouring countries with the most Ukrainian refugees are Slovakia (406,833) and Belarus (27,108).
>> Ukrainian Refugees Represent 92% of All Persons Registered at Entry Points Into Slovakia