The war in ukraine has triggered a movement of flight of the Ukrainian population that, according to the UN, may lead to four million people seeking refuge outside the country to escape the Russian invasion. Since February 24, more than 1.5 million people have left the country, according to the latest data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as of March 5, provided in a new portal that it has launched to report on this humanitarian crisis
Half of the expatriates go to Polandwhich has already received some 885,000 refugees, but hundreds of thousands have also crossed the borders of Moldova, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. “I have worked in refugee crises for almost 40 years and rarely have I seen an exodus of people so incredibly fast,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said a few days ago.
In addition to the refugees, the United Nations estimated a few days ago that there one million internally displaced, people have left their homes to escape the fighting, although without leaving the territory of Ukraine. Since 2014, there had already been 800,000 internal journeys.
Also, it is estimated that there 150,000 people, residents of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, in eastern Ukraine, who have taken refuge in Russian territory since before the invasion, according to the UN itself.
Among the refugees, there would be at least half a million children who have left Ukraine after the first week of waraccording to the Unicef estimate, which has also confirmed that at least 17 minors have died as a result of the fighting and 30 have been injured.
Millions of Ukrainian children are affected by the violence in Ukraine, especially in the face of increased shelling in urban areas. According to Unicef, hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed and there are reports of attacks that have hit schools, orphanages or health clinics.
Half of the refugees are choosing Poland for their flight from Ukraine. Some 885,000 people who lived in this country have left for this state of the European Union since last Thursday, according to UNHCR data.
Poland, which has deep historical and cultural ties with Ukraine, already hosts the largest Ukrainian community abroad, with more than a million people, although, according to Efe, there are unofficial estimates that put that figure at up to two million. the polish authorities expected the daily arrival of some 30,000 people from Ukraine but the figure is being much higher.
Warsaw has enabled eight reception centers for refugees along its border, where orientation and temporary accommodation are provided if necessary. These service points are located in Medyka, Dorohusk, Krocienko, Budomierz, Dorohusk, Dolhobyczow, Zosin, Hrebenne and Korczowa. It has enabled a website with all the information in English.
Hungary has hosted more than 169,000 refugees, according to the UNHCR, some of them Ukrainians of Hungarian origin who lived in the far west of Ukraine. Hungary has five border crossings with Ukraine and several Nearby cities, such as Zahony, have set up shelters in public buildings.
Budapest has changed its legislation to allow entry into the country and grant the temporary asylum status to all those who “flee their homeland due to armed conflicts, civil war or ethnic conflicts”. Until now, asylum could only be requested at the embassies in Belgrade and Kiev.
Romania has hosted some 71,000 refugees from Ukraine since the Russian army launched its offensive, according to UNHCR. Bucharest has removed the mandatory quarantine obligation for COVID-19 for people from Ukraine.
The busiest border crossing is Siretfollowed by that of Sighetul-Marmatiei, both in the north of Romania. Two reception camps have been set up in both.
In addition, Ukrainians resort to the land border crossing of Halmeu and to that of Isaccea, on the stretch of the Danube that separates both countries along the Black Sea, according to the Romanian Border Police. Refugees are also entering via Moldova.
Moldova has so far received more than 84,000 Ukrainian refugees, according to United Nations data. The country’s president, Maia Sandu, has assured that they will receive “everyone” who asks them for help.
The Moldovan authorities have established two humanitarian centers in the towns of Palanca and Ocnitain the north of the country, where refugees can receive “humanitarian, legal and food assistance,” reports AFP.
UNHCR reports that 113,000 people have left Ukrainian territory for Slovakia, which has promised to take in all people who “flee the military conflict” without the need for them to present a passport. The country has thus opened the borders to Ukrainian refugees and the Government has reported that they have 10,000 accommodation places for people who do not have relatives to receive them.
Bordering northern Ukraine, the country is an ally of Russia and not only hosts several Russian military bases on its territory, but one of the main fronts of the invasion was established from the Russian troops that left Belarus for Kiev, distant only 80 kilometers from the border. Still, according to UNHCR, 406 people have sought refuge on Belarusian soil.
Other European countries
UNHCR reports that more than 157,000 people they had left the Ukraine to take refuge in other European countries.
On the other hand, the countries of the European Union agreed on March 3, a week after the invasion began, to grant temporary protection to refugees arriving from Ukraine through a 2001 directive, approved after the Balkan wars. . This will provide people who have fled Ukraine, whatever Member State they may be in, with a residence permit, access to the labor market and housing, and medical and social assistance for a period of up to three years.
More than 92,000 asylum requests from Ukrainians in twelve years
Ukrainian citizens have made 92,095 asylum applications to European countries in twelve years, between 2008 and 2020, according to Eurostat data. The requests hardly exceed a thousand before 2014, but as of that year -with the accession of the Crimean peninsula by Russia- the requests soared to 22,405 in 2015. Last year they were something 6,040.
Spainspecifically, has received in these twelve years up to 14,630 asylum applications by Ukrainian citizens, but only 65 of them were before 2014. A year later it reached the highest number with 3,345 requests while in 2020 they already dropped to 1,115.
Only Italy (17,510) and Germany (14,630) have received more requests, according to Eurostat statistics, which collects requests, so the same person may have made several in different countries.