Share this @internewscast.com

More than four million Ukrainians have fled the country within five weeks to escape Russia’s “senseless war”, the United Nations has said, as shelling continued in places where Moscow had pledged to ease its military activities.

The speed and scale of the exodus is unprecedented in Europe since World War II, and has seen a wave of empathy extended to the women, children and elderly men who have made it across the border.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agency said on Wednesday that 4,019,287 Ukrainians had fled across the country’s borders since the February 24 invasion, with more than 2.3 million going west into Poland.

The number exceeds the worst-case predictions made at the start of the war. UNHCR’s initial estimate stated that the war could eventually create up to four million refugees.

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

“I have just arrived in Ukraine. In Lviv I will discuss with the authorities, the UN and other partners ways to increase our support to people affected and displaced by this senseless war.”

Commenting on the development, Alex Mundt, the UNHCR senior emergency coordinator in Poland, said: “I think it’s a tragic milestone.”

“It means that in less than a month or in just about a month, four million people have been uprooted from their homes, from their families, their communities, in what is the fastest exodus of refugees moving in recent history.”

Women and children account for 90 percent of those who have fled. Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 are eligible for military call-up and not permitted to leave.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says more than half of the country’s estimated 7.5 million children have been displaced: 2.5 million internally and 1.8 million abroad.

“It is encouraging to see the outpouring of support offered to refugees by Ukraine’s neighbours and other countries,” said UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet.

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine war Refugees DAY 35 March 30 845gmt

But she urged destination countries “to provide particular protection to women and children, many of whom face risks of human trafficking, including sexual and labour exploitation”.

In total, more than a quarter of the Ukrainian population living in government-controlled areas before the invasion have been forced to flee their homes, with an estimated 6.5 million uprooted people still within the country’s borders.

Besides the Ukrainians who have fled, another 200,000 non-Ukrainians who were living, working or studying in the country have managed to escape.

[embedded content]

‘New phase of war’

“I do not know if we can still believe the Russians,” refugee Nikolay Nazarov, 23, told The Associated Press as he crossed Ukraine’s border into Poland with his wheelchair-bound father.

Despite Russia’s announcement during talks on Tuesday that its forces would ease their assault near Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and elsewhere, Nazarov said he expects “more escalation” in the country’s east, including the city he and his father fled.

“That is why we cannot go back to Kharkiv,” he said. “We are afraid of a new phase of war in eastern Ukraine.”

Nazarov echoed the opinion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said that given what was happening on the ground, there was no reason to believe Russia’s statement about reducing military activity near Kyiv and in Chernihiv, a besieged northern city.

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

Diana Konstantynova, a 45-year-old accountant from Vinnytsia in south Ukraine, told the AP that Russia’s promise to scale back its attacks is not a signal she can safely return home.

“I do not believe in a truce,” said Konstantynova, who fled to Romania with her eight-year-old son a month ago. She says they will only return when “bombs stop exploding in my city” and “when Russian troops completely leave our territory”.

[embedded content]

Source: Al Jazeera

Share this @internewscast.com
You May Also Like

Drunk police inspector who sexually assaulted two women at Christmas party resigns from force 

Drunk police inspector, 45, who sexually assaulted two women after touching and…

Cochise County Arizona Republicans refuse to certify 2022 midterm election results

Republican officials in a rural Arizona county refused on Monday to certify…

Live as serious crash blocks New Hey Road and Brighouse Road junction in Huddersfield

Police, the fire service and paramedics are at the scene of the…

I visited a Huddersfield warm bank on a chilly afternoon and it was bustling

Volunteers at The Branch in Paddock are offering a warm welcome

Royal Mail strike dates in December 2022 and if deliveries will still be on

Royal Mail workers could strike on Christmas Eve as well as on…

Dave Matthews Band joins Senator Warnock to rally Georgia voters

ATLANTA () — Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker are vying for your…

Video of high-speed chase on Newberry Road

Video from the high-speed chase on Newberry Road on Saturday night The…

Exact train strike dates for December as more disruption expected before Christmas

The RMT has confirmed its next round of strikes

Who is the man charged in connection to disappearing cats?

First Coast News has learned he was previously fired from a Jacksonville…

White House unveils first lady’s holiday theme of “We the People”

Washington — Drawing decorating inspiration from America’s founding documents, Jill Biden chose…

BOLO: Suspect Accused of Sexually Assaulting Minor for 2 Years On the Run

Texas police are searching for a Houston man who vanished after allegedly…

Federal Support For Florida Hurricane Ian Victims Nears $3 Billion

More than $2.97 billion in federal grants, disaster loans, and flood insurance…