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Pentagon's Kirby says U.S. 'wants to step up' with pledge to welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees

The U.S. is planning to welcome into the country up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion, a Biden administration official announced Thursday, per CNN.

To do so, the White House will not have to ask Congress to add to the current cap on annual refugees, "which is currently set at 125,000 for fiscal year 2022," because this initiative is seen as a long-term committment in which Ukrainians will have multiple avenues to enter the U.S, CNN reports.

"The State Department will be managing this, and working through the refugee system that's in place," said Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby. "We're proud to be able to contribute to international efforts to provide a home for those who have now lost everything in Ukraine."

"The United States wants to step up here and be welcoming to those who have been so terribly affected by the death and destruction inside Ukraine," he added.

Officials will emphasize the protection of the most vulnerable refugee populations, "including members of the LGBTQI+ community, those with medical needs, journalists and third-country nationals," CNN writes.

"By opening our country to these individuals, we will help relieve some of the pressure on the European host countries that are currently shouldering so much of the responsibility," the initial official said.

More details are the come, per The Wall Street Journal. The United Nations estimates over 3.6 million people have fled Ukraine in response to the war, a majority of whom have gone to Poland.