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The announcement by Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, estimating the number of Ukrainians who have had to flee their homes since the start of the Russian invasion at 10 million, whether to seek refuge in a third country or simply to evacuate to another Ukrainian city due to the situation of war, means that almost one in every four of the population have had to take flight as best they could. All this in just 24 days since Vladimir Putin issued the invasion order on February 24th for a conflict that Russian troops expected to be more straightforward and in which, apparently, no one counted on the resilience of the Ukrainian people and the leadership of president Volodymyr Zelensky, who has enabled people to find a reason for resisting and has shifted Europe from its initially distant position over the conflict.

Zelensky has stood up to Russian military power with a courageous defence of the cities, starting with the capital Kyiv, and has done magnificently on social media. His videoconference speeches in legislative chambers around the world have become an exceptional propaganda exercise, and have generated a sense of solidarity with his people around the world. In the end, the solidarity of all countries in welcoming Ukrainians forced to flee from the armed conflict is nothing more than a critique of Putin's despotic action. The same can be said of the change in the historical positions of countries such as Germany and Switzerland, which have left behind their default stance, in the case of Germany, since the end of World War II, and in the case of the Alpine country, since even earlier.

It will not be easy to manage this avalanche of displaced people, when, in addition, it will take a considerable time for many of them to be able to return home, and when that happens we will see what is left of their country. Because it is one thing to resist the invasion and another to save property, possessions and chattels that are being literally crushed by the Russian army. Catalonia, as a land that opens its doors to others, must ensure that its response rises to match the gravity of an historical situation. To think about what that might mean: the Swiss cantons have begun working on scenarios that would involve the arrival of more than 100,000 refugees from Ukraine.

In Spain, the numbers are a major enigma for now, because until just a few days ago, they had not even begun to prepare the Red Cross reception centres that should allow the people who have arrived to be properly processed. The Spanish minister Escrivá reported before the weekend that some 4,500 Ukrainians had been documented as refugees. But these figures are much lower than the real ones, because in Catalonia there are around 10,000 people who have already arrived by all of the various means of transport. Giving one response or another will mark us as a country and as a society, no matter how much our politicians keep themselves entertained in the petty battle being waged by their parties and which is so disappointing to the vast majority of voters.