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30th Mar 2022

4 million Ukrainians have now fled the country in ‘largest refugee crisis since WWII’

A further 6.3 million are displaced within Ukraine.

Over four million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion on the country in February, the United Nations says.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 4,019,287 Ukrainians had fled across the country’s borders, with 2.3 million having headed west into Poland.

It says the scale of the displacement and the speed at which it is happening has not been seen in Europe since World War II.

Over 608,000 have entered Romania, over 387,000 have gone to Moldova, and about 364,000 have entered Hungary.

UNHCR had predicted that around 4 million people could flee Ukraine when the war began — now it says it is repeatedly reassessing its forecasts.

“Refugees from Ukraine are now four million, five weeks after the start of the Russian attack,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said on Twitter.

He said the UN and other partners are looking for “ways to increase our support to people affected and displaced by this senseless war”.

Women and children account for 90 percent of those who have fled, as many Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 remain in the country to join the military.

UNHCR teams and their partners are working to deliver protection, shelter, money, and essential items and services for those who have fled.

An estimated 6.5 million people have also been displaced from their homes within the country.

It comes as a round of peace talks on Tuesday saw Russia pledge to scale back some military operation in Ukraine in order to “increase mutual trust”.

However, the pledge was met with scepticism by many, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“We can call those signals that we hear at the negotiations positive,” he said in a video address to the Ukrainian people. “But those signals don’t silence the explosions of Russian shells.”

Aid workers say the number of people evacuating the country has eased over the past few days as many now await further developments.