Image: The Bangkok Post
The United Nations reported Thursday that one million refugees have fled Ukraine in the week since Russia’s incursion, warning that millions more are likely to depart unless the situation is resolved swiftly.
“We have witnessed the outflow of one million refugees from Ukraine to neighboring countries in less than seven days,” UN refugee director Filippo Grandi tweeted.
“Unless the situation is resolved immediately, millions more people are going to be compelled to evacuate Ukraine,” Grandi warned.
UNHCR estimates show that 1,002,860 people have fled Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin began a full-scale assault on 24 February.
Grandi stated that the numbers were increasing at a breakneck pace.
“I’ve worked in refugee crisis for nearly 40 years and have rarely witnessed an evacuation as swift as this one,” he explained.
“Hour by hour, minute by minute, an increasing number of individuals flee the awful reality of violence,” he stated.
Over half of people fleeing Ukraine have entered neighboring Poland. Hungary, Moldova, and Slovakia have also taken in a large number of refugees.
According to the UNHCR, over 505,500 people have fled Ukraine for Poland in the last week. By early Thursday, Poland’s border guards estimated that the amount had risen to almost 575,000, with 95,000 crossing on Wednesday alone.
Numerous people have also been internally displaced within Ukraine.
Grandi stated that UNHCR personnel and other humanitarians were “helping wherever and wherever they could in terrifying situations” within Ukraine.
“Our personnel remains, even at great risk, since we recognize the country’s enormous needs.”
Additionally, the UN refugee director lauded the “amazing” reaction of governments and local people in neighboring countries that have taken in over a million refugees.
“The outpouring of international sympathy has been heartening,” he remarked.
“However, nothing – nothing – can substitute for the need to stop the weapons; for communication and diplomacy to succeed. The only way to put an end to this tragedy is via peace.”