An arsonist may have been behind a fire that destroyed a shelter for Ukrainian refugees on Germany’s Baltic coast, a German government official has suggested.
The governor of the state of Mecklenburg-Pomerania, Manuela Schwesig, warned that any kind of violence against people fleeing the war would not be tolerated.
The 14 residents and three employees living in the shelter were rescued from the flames when the former Northeast State Hotel caught fire Wednesday night, local police said.
No one was injured and the refugees were moved to other shelters, according to authorities.
Ms Schwesig said: “One thing must be clear to everyone: people fleeing war need our protection and support. We do not tolerate incitement and violence.”
Police investigating the cause of the fire were investigating possible arson, German news agency dpa reported.
On Monday, police received a report of graffiti depicting a Nazi swastika in the shelter’s entrance area. It is not yet known if the graffiti was related to the fire, police said.
More than a million refugees from Ukraine, mostly women and children, have gone to Germany to seek protection since Russia invaded their country nearly eight months ago.
The refugees were initially welcomed warmly, and many German families opened their homes to take them in.
However, a vocal minority has expressed hostility toward them and other foreigners arriving in the country.