Over 4 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russian invasion began, UN says


More than 4 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion, according to United Nations refugee agency data on Wedneday.

State of play: The U.N. refugee agency has labeled the exodus the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

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  • Some 6.5 million people are internally displaced, the UN migration agency said last week.

  • «Among the responsibilities of those who wage war, everywhere in the world, is the suffering inflicted on civilians who are forced to flee their homes,» tweeted U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

  • «The war in Ukraine is so devastating that 10 million have fled — either displaced inside the country, or as refugees abroad.»

Driving the news: Most Ukrainian refugees have crossed into Poland, and others have gone to Romania, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and other European countries. Many have also fled to Russia.

  • «People are under stress … and when people are scared they become egoist and forget about everything,» Natalia Pivniuk, a Ukrainian woman from Lviv, told AP earlier this month.

  • She said people were pushing to get on a train to flee. It was «very scary, and dangerous physically and dangerous mentally.»

Data: UNHCR; Map: Jared Whalen and Will Chase/Axios

Zoom in: At least 4.3 million children have been displaced from the war, including more than 1.8 million who have fled and 2.5 million who are internally displaced, according to UNICEF.

  • «This is a grim milestone that could have lasting consequences for generations to come,» UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said.

  • «Children’s safety, wellbeing and access to essential services are all under threat from non-stop violence.»

The big picture: UN aid agencies have warned that fuel, cash and medical supplies were dwindling in Ukraine.

  • «The picture is grim and could get worse still,» UN emergency relief coordinator Martin Griffiths told the Security Council earlier this month.

  • «The elderly and people with disabilities find themselves trapped and unable to flee,» he added.

  • «Children will miss school and face a great risk of physical harm displacement and unimaginably severe emotional stress. Women, so often disproportionately affected by conflict … will be at even greater risk of gender-based violence.»

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new estimates on the number of refugees.

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