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More Than 360,000 Refugees Left Ukraine Since Russian Invasion

Ukraine refugees
A Ukrainian refugee leaves her country and says: “Thank you Mr. Putin for such change in my life”. Credit: Twitter/Sofia Koczmar

Over 360,000 refugees have left Ukraine since Russia began its invasion on Thursday, according to the UN.

As Ukraine’s forces battle Russian troops in the capital Kyiv and in the north, south and east of the nation, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees said the situation was expected to get worse.

“Displacement in Ukraine is also growing but the military situation makes it difficult to estimate numbers and provide aid,” Filippo Grandi tweeted.

Most refugees are heading to Poland and Moldova, but also to Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, more than 115,000 refugees have crossed into Poland, the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs said on Saturday. Anyone from Ukraine is allowed entry, even those who do not hold valid passports, Polish officials said.

Poland said it would take in “as many as there will be at our border”, with reception centers offering meals and medical care.

Satellite images show miles of vehicles attempting to cross into nearby Romania at the Siret border crossing. “In these tragic times, our thoughts are on the Ukrainian people, on all Ukrainian women, men and children, forced to live in terror, innocent and collateral victims of a war they do not understand and did not want,” Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said Thursday.

Russian war could create 4 million refugees from Ukraine

The UN has warned Russia that its invasion of Ukraine would have “devastating” humanitarian consequences. U.S. officials have estimated that the Russian invasion could produce between 1 million and 5 million refugees.

Greece is willing to “take a number of people in” from Ukraine if needed and will support the Ukrainians directly, with “technical and humanitarian help toward Poland and other countries,” Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis told Skai TV on Saturday.

According to Mitarakis, war refugees from Ukraine “are true refugees.”

“If we as a country need to take a number of people in, we are willing to do so in collaboration with the European Union. The cost will be covered by Europe.”

He reiterated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of international law and “a revisionist stance by Russia, which is condemned by the entire West.”

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