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War in Ukraine | More than 4.5 million refugees have fled the country

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(Geneva) More than 4.5 million Ukrainian refugees have fled their country since the invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, according to figures from the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The UNHCR registered exactly 4,503,954 Ukrainian refugees on Sunday. These are 62,291 more than during the previous tally on Saturday.

Europe has not seen such a flood of refugees since the Second World War.

Some 90% of those who have fled Ukraine are women and children, the Ukrainian authorities not allowing the departure of men of military age.


PHOTO SERGEI GRITS, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Refugees who have just crossed the border between Ukraine and Poland, on April 10 in Medyka

According to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), around 210,000 non-Ukrainians have also fled the country, sometimes encountering difficulties in returning to their country of origin.

The UN also estimates the number of internally displaced people at 7.1 million, according to IOM figures released on 5 April.

In total, therefore, more than 11 million people, more than a quarter of the population, have had to leave their homes either by crossing the border to reach neighboring countries, or by finding refuge elsewhere in Ukraine.

Before this conflict, Ukraine was populated by more than 37 million people in the territories controlled by Kyiv – which therefore does not include the Crimea (south) annexed in 2014 by Russia nor the eastern areas under the control of the pro-Russian separatists since the same year.

Poland

Poland hosts by far the largest number of refugees.

Since February 24, 2,593,902 of them have entered Poland as of April 9, according to the UNHCR. On Sunday morning, Polish border guards spoke of 2,630,000 arrivals.

Many of them then travel to other European countries. Of those who remain in Poland, 700,000 have already obtained the national identification number (PESEL), according to the UNHCR.

This number is widely used in relations with Polish public institutions, health services, to obtain a telephone number, access to certain banking services, etc.

The Polish border police also estimate that more than 500,000 people have returned to Ukraine since the conflict. Poland had about 1.5 million Ukrainian immigrant workers before the war.

Romania

According to the UN refugee agency, 686,232 people had traveled to Romania as of April 9, many of whom arrived via Moldova before continuing on to other countries.

Raouf Mazou, Assistant High Commissioner for Operations at UNHCR, on Saturday hailed “the rapid measures” taken by the Romanian government to guarantee refugees “access to rights and services through temporary protection”.

Moldova

According to the UNHCR, 410,882 Ukrainians entered Moldova, a small country of 2.6 million inhabitants among the poorest in Europe but also the closest to the Ukrainian port of Odessa.

The European Commission encourages Ukrainian refugees to move on to settle in an EU country that is better able to bear the financial burden.

Hungary

Hungary had welcomed 419,101 Ukrainians as of April 9, according to the UNHCR.

Slovakia

As of April 9, a total of 314,485 people had arrived from Ukraine since the start of the war, according to UNHCR.

Russia

The number of refugees in Russia stood at 404,418 as of April 9.

UNHCR also notes that between February 21 and 23, 113,000 people crossed from the pro-Russian separatist territories of Donetsk and Luhansk (eastern Ukraine) to Russia.

Belarus

As of April 7, Belarus had taken in 19,096 people.

Method

The UNHCR specifies that for the countries bordering Ukraine which are part of the Schengen area (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia), the figures presented by the High Commission count those who have crossed the border and entered the country. The UNHCR estimates that “a large number of people have continued on their way to other countries”.

In addition, the organization indicates that it does not count people from neighboring countries who leave Ukraine to return home.

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