More than 1.5 million people flee Ukraine war

Agence France-Presse
More than 1.5 million people flee Ukraine war
Ukrainians wait to be transferred after crossing the Ukrainian border into Poland, at the Medyka border crossing where thousands of refugees flee the war in Ukraine on March 6, 2022. The number of people fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine has topped 1.5 million, making it Europe's "fastest growing refugee crisis" since World War II, the United Nations said on March 6, 2022. "More than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighbouring countries in 10 days —- the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II," it said in a statement on Twitter.

GENEVA, Switzerland — More than 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, according to the latest UN data on Sunday.


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had recorded 1,534,792 refugees on its dedicated website by 1335 GMT, almost 166,000 more than the previous count on Saturday. 

Authorities and the UN expect the flow to intensify as the Russian army continues to advance into Ukraine, particularly as it approaches the capital, Kyiv. 

"More than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighbouring countries in 10 days — the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II," the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, tweeted.

According to the UN, four million people may seek to leave the country to escape the war. 

Before the conflict, Ukraine had more than 37 million people in areas controlled by Kyiv — which does not include Russian-annexed Crimea or separatist-controlled areas.


Poland, which has championed the cause of Ukrainian refugees and where US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived on Saturday for talks with the country's top officials, is hosting by far the largest number of refugees arriving since the start of the Russian invasion.  

In total, there were 885,303 refugees in Poland on Sunday, according to the UNHCR count — 129,000 more than on Saturday and 57.7 percent of the total number recorded to have fled. 

Polish border guards said they had registered 964,000 refugees by Sunday.

The number of arrivals reached a record 129,000 on Saturday. The vast majority were Ukrainians but the influx also included citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Belarus, India, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, the United States and Uzbekistan.

Before the crisis, Poland was already home to about 1.5 million Ukrainians, most of whom came to work in the EU member state.


Hungary has taken in 169,053 people, or 11 percent of the total, and more than 12,000 more than the previous day, according to the UNHCR. 

The country has five border crossings with Ukraine and several border towns, including Zahony, have turned public buildings into relief centres, where Hungarian civilians offer food or assistance. 


Some 113,967 people have fled Ukraine for Slovakia, or 7.4 percent of the total, the UNHCR says.


Some 84,067 people, or 5.5 percent of the total, have crossed into Moldova, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was visiting on Sunday.

Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita urged the US on Sunday to provide more humanitarian aid to help her country of 2.6 million, one of Europe's poorest, cope with the influx of people from Ukraine. 

According to the UNHCR, some of the refugees are continuing on from Moldova to Romania or Hungary, often to reunite with family.


In Romania, the UNHCR has registered 71,640 refugees, or about 4.7 percent of the total. 

Two camps have been set up, one in Sighetu Marmatiei and the other in Siret.

Elsewhere in Europe

UNHCR also said that 157,056 people, around one in 10, had continued on to other European countries after crossing the Ukrainian border.


The number of people taking refuge in Russia remains unchanged at around 53,000, or 3.9 percent of the total.




As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 9, 2022 - 7:47am

President Vladimir Putin says he hopes that Moscow and the West could find a solution to the raging security crisis over Ukraine, but also accused Washington of using Kyiv as a "tool" against Russia.

"I hope that in the end we will find a solution, although it will not be simple," Putin says, indicating he was ready for more talks with the West, which has accused Moscow of massing more than 100,000 troops on the border and plotting to invade Ukraine.

"It seems to me that the United States is not so much concerned about the security of Ukraine... but its main task is to contain Russia's development," Putin says. — AFP

August 9, 2022 - 7:47am

Ukraine's security service says  it had arrested Russian agents who were planning to assassinate the defence minister and the military intelligence chief.

The SBU "arrested killers from the Russian special services who were plotting the assassinations" of Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and military intelligence boss Kyrylo Budanov, the service says on Telegram. — AFP

August 8, 2022 - 12:29pm

Four more ships loaded with grain set off from Ukrainian ports, as Moscow and Kyiv blamed each other for a new strike at a Russian-occupied nuclear plant. 

Amnesty International, meanwhile, says it deeply regretted the "distress and anger" caused after it alleged Ukrainian forces were flouting international law by exposing civilians to Russian fire. But it stands by its controversial report.

Kyiv's infrastructure ministry writes on Telegram that a second convoy of Ukrainian supplies had just left, three from Chornomorsk and one from Odessa. — AFP

August 7, 2022 - 9:33am

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday accused Russia of using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant "for terror" after the operator of the facility reported major damage at the site.

Energoatom, operator of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the south of the country, said Saturday that parts of the facility had been "seriously damaged" by military strikes and one of its reactors was forced to shut down.

Friday's strikes had damaged a station containing nitrogen and oxygen and an auxiliary building, Energoatom said on the Telegram messaging service.

As hostilities raged on in the east and south of Ukraine, pro-Moscow authorities in the Russian-occupied Kherson region reported another assassination attempt on a senior official.

And the head of Amnesty International's Ukraine office announced she had resigned from the organisation over the group's publication of a controversial report that accused the country's military of endangering civilians.

Kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other for the attacks on the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe's largest atomic power complex.

Zelensky, in his nightly address on Saturday, once again accused Moscow of terrorism, saying, "Russian terrorists became the first in the world to use the power plant... for terror."

The European Union's top diplomat Josep Borrell condemned the attack "as a serious and irresponsible breach of nuclear safety rules and another example of Russia's disregard for international norms".

The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog also expressed alarm. The strikes underline "the very real risk of a nuclear disaster", said Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). -- AFP

August 6, 2022 - 8:38am

Three bulk carriers loaded with grain set sail from Ukraine on Friday under a landmark deal to free up shipments brokered by Turkey, as its leader met his Russian counterpart for talks on Moscow's invasion of its neighbour.

Months of efforts by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saw Moscow and Kyiv agree in Istanbul last month to resume the shipments from Ukrainian ports in a bid to relieve a global food crisis caused by the assault launched in February.

The government in Kyiv said on social media that two ships carrying Ukrainian maize -- the Maltese-flagged Rojen and the Turkish Polarnet -- had set off from Chornomorsk while the Panama-flagged Navistar departed from Odessa. 

As the vessels left, Erdogan was preparing with most of his top ministers for his second talks with President Vladimir Putin in 17 days and a working lunch in the Russian resort city of Sochi. — AFP

August 5, 2022 - 8:03am

Three more ships filled with grain will sail from Ukraine on Friday under a UN-backed deal lifting Russia's blockade of the Black Sea, Turkey's defence minister says.

"It is planned that three ships will set sail tomorrow from Ukraine," Anadolu state news agency quotes Defence Minister Hulusi Akar as saying, one day after the first ship passed Istanbul on its way to Lebanon.

Ankara also announced that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed the agreement's implementation by phone with UN chief Antonio Guterres, without disclosing further details.

Moscow and Kyiv agreed in Istanbul last month to resume shipments of wheat and other grain from Ukrainian ports for the first time since Russia invaded its neighbour in February.

The first ship, loaded with 26,000 tonnes of maize, set off from Odessa on Monday for the Lebanese port of Tripoli. — AFP

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