DENVER – Colorado Gov. Jared Polis reiterated Thursday the state was ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees after the White House announced the U.S. would welcome up to 100,000 of them as Russia’s invasion of the country continues.
As President Joe Biden visited NATO on Thursday, the White House announced it would welcome the refugees “through the full range of legal pathways” and that the U.S. would work with the European Union to coordinate the movement of the refugees.
The United Nations has said about 3.5 million people have left Ukraine since Russia invaded in late February, about a month ago this week.
“Providing refuge to the people of Ukraine fleeing Putin’s aggression is the Colorado way and I applaud President Biden for taking this action,” Polis said. “…Colorado looks forward to continuing to send strong support and necessary refuge to Ukrainians seeking to live freely, independently, and without fear in our great state and nation.”
There are about 11,000 Ukrainians living in Colorado, according to the state. On the second day of the invasion, Polis wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying Colorado was ready to accept Ukrainian refugees. He also signed an executive order directing the Office of New Americans to support Ukrainians in Colorado and those currently fleeing the country.
He also signed an order directing Colorado departments and agencies to work to divest from or terminate any contracts with Russian state-owned companies and banks, and Colorado PERA divested $7.2 million from Sberbank, while the University of Colorado said it was also divesting its Russian assets.
Earlier this month, the state collected more than 1,000 consignments of body armor, helmets and more to send to Ukraine from excess law enforcement stores.