'Prepared for the worst': Polish PM braces for Ukrainian refugees

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (unseen) in Warsaw, Poland February 10, 2022 following a meeting. Daniel Leal/Pool via REUTERS/FIle Photo

WARSAW, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Poland is planning for a possible influx of refugees from Ukraine in case of a Russian invasion, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday, despite Moscow's assurances it was scaling back a troop buildup near Ukraine.

Speaking as NATO said the number of Russian troops on Ukraine's borders was continuing to grow, Morawiecki said infrastructure for refugees would be set up near its eastern border with Ukraine, but some might be moved elsewhere later.

"In the next few days I will be convening a team ... which will deal with issues of logistics, facilities, transport, infrastructure," Morawiecki told reporters.

"We must be prepared for the worst," he said, adding that the team would also be tasked with securing access for refugees to health care and education. "We are helping the Ukrainians to mitigate the consequences of a Russian attack."

Russia announced a partial pullback of troops on Tuesday and said that was continuing on Wednesday and its armed forces would return to their normal positions in three to four weeks.

NATO said it would welcome a Russian withdrawal but that it had not seen signs of any significant movement so far. read more

Reporting by Alicja Ptak, Pawel Florkiewicz and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Writing by Alicja Ptak; Editing by Philippa Fletcher

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