THE HAGUE: Europol, the European Union police agency, has sent teams to countries bordering Ukraine in an effort to protect refugees from criminals.
The Hague-based agency said on Friday its teams are supporting local authorities by running secondary security checks and seeking to "identify criminals and terrorists trying to enter the EU in the refugee flow and exploit the situation."
The Europol teams are operating in Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Moldova and are planning to deploy to Romania, too.
The agency says they also are gathering intelligence to feed into criminal threat assessments across Europe.
The United Nations says that more than 4 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi says he is heading to Poland later on Friday to assess the need for the war-displaced Ukrainians in that country and assist those who seek refuge in Japan.
Hayashi, during his five-day trip through Tuesday, is set to meet with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and other top officials, as well as international organisations.
Officials are still making arrangements for a possibility of his government plane bringing some Ukrainians on his way back, Hayashi said.
"In order to support the Ukrainian people facing the difficulty and to show our solidarity with Ukraine, Japan is pursuing our effort to accept those who fled to a third country," Hayashi said.
Japan's government last month launched a taskforce to prepare accepting Ukrainian war-displaced as part of humanitarian support, a rare move for a country known for its strict and reluctant refugee policy.
Several municipalities, including Tokyo, Kanagawa, Ibaraki and Osaka, have offered to be their host towns and provide support for medical needs, education, jobs and housing.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky told reporters Friday that some 300 relatives of Ukrainian residents in Japan have been granted entry, and more arrivals are expected from next week.