Europe can expect an influx of refugees in the event of a further escalation of the crisis around Ukraine, warned European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, quoted by DPA.

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It is estimated that between 20,000 and 1,000,000 refugees could be targeted at the bloc, Schinas told Germany's Welt newspaper.

In addition, about 20,000 European citizens currently live in Ukraine, who may need support for a possible evacuation, he added.

Mateusz Morawiecki: Poland is preparing to accept Ukrainian refugees

Schinas said the EU is also ready to send significant humanitarian aid to Kiev, as well as to help if urgent action is needed.

The deployment of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border has sparked international fears that Russia may be preparing for an invasion of the neighboring country, something Moscow has repeatedly denied.

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NATO-Russia tensions