War in Ukraine: UNHCR reports more than five million refugees – foreign policy

Most of those who survive Russia’s cruel war of aggression against Ukraine just want to get away. Out of their home country, across borders to safe European countries. Even if they have to leave everything behind, even if only one thing is certain for them: the uncertainty of the future.

Meanwhile, several million people have left the country, as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced on Friday. Thus, the threshold of five million refugees has now been exceeded.

Specifically, the UNHCR reported 4,796,245 million Ukrainian refugees; In addition, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), nearly 215,000 nationals of other countries who were living in Ukraine have also fled the country.


It is mainly women and children who cross borders - because men have to fight in the warFoto: Getty Images

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It is mainly women and children who cross borders – because men have to fight in the warPhoto: Getty Images


A Ukrainian family at the Polish border post in MedykaFoto: WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP

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A Ukrainian family at the Polish border post in MedykaPhoto: WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP


At a train station in Przemysl (eastern Poland), a little boy sits on the family's luggageFoto: WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP

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At a train station in Przemysl (eastern Poland), a little boy sits on the family’s luggagePhoto: WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP

This is the largest refugee movement in Europe since World War II. 90% of those fleeing abroad are women and children, as men between the ages of 18 and 60 are currently not allowed to leave Ukraine.

Most of the refugees – 2.7 million so far – have gone to Poland. According to IOM estimates, an additional 7.1 million people are fleeing inside Ukraine.

Before the Russian invasion, about 44 million people lived in Ukraine. Seven million of them lived in Crimea, annexed by Russia in violation of international law in 2014, or in the so-called “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk, which Kremlin despot Vladimir Putin (69) had admitted independence shortly before its invasion. .

Dirty business with the suffering of refugees

Most refugees from other European countries are ready to help. Transport, some of which is organized privately, is already waiting at the borders, and people are receiving food, clothing and hygiene items.

But the humanitarian organizations active on the borders also report the sinister machinations of criminals who want to profit from the suffering of the people: accomplices on the Ukrainian side “scan” the refugees who arrive in search of their partners on the other side of the frontier.

The criteria used by unscrupulous human traffickers is simple: as Britain’s Mail on Sunday reported last week, they seek out young women in their twenties and approach them specifically. They are supposed to be lured abroad by false promises and sold there.

A British Afghanistan veteran who helps cross the Polish border at Medyka shockingly told the newspaper: “The younger the better. The current price for a girl in her twenties is £145,000. It’s more than €173,000.

UNHCR, which is registering thousands more refugees every day, is also alarmed at the dangers of human trafficking and smuggling, including sexual exploitation: a specially designed campaign aims to raise awareness in neighboring countries and inform the women who fled on the risks.

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