Conflict

More than 1.7 million Ukrainians have fled to Central Europe, says UN

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People take shelter in basement as Russia continues shelling in Ukraine. [Photo: Twitter/Berkhaiz Bhat]

More than 1.7 million Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion have so far crossed into Central Europe, the United Nation’s refugee agency said, as thousands more streamed across the borders.

Poland- which has the largest Ukrainian community in Central Europe- has received more than 1 million Ukrainian refugees since the conflict began on February 24, with the milestone passed late on Sunday, CNBC reported.

“This is a million human tragedies, a million people banished from their homes by the war,” the Polish border guard service tweeted late on Sunday.

A total of 1,735,068 civilians- mostly women and children, as men stayed home to fight- have so far crossed the border into Central Europe, the UNHCR said.

The European Union could see as many as 5 million Ukrainian refugees if Russia’s bombardment of Ukraine continues, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”. Central Europeans, whose memories of Moscow’s dominance after World War Two run deep, continued to show support for their eastern neighbours.

Earlier, Ukrainian authorities claimed that Russian troops shelled an evacuation bus and a number of villages in the Kyiv region, NEXTA TV reported. Three people were wounded in the attack, the report said.

Meanwhile, as per a Reuters report, evacuation of civilians from Ukraine’s Sumy is underway.

The evacuations started after both the Russian and Ukrainian officials agreed to set up humanitarian corridors to allow civilians out of areas seized by the Russian forces.

On Monday, the Ukrainian authorities during the third round of talks with their Russian counterparts had rejected an offer for humanitarian corridors that would lead refugees from the attacked cities into Russia and Belarus.

Britain’s defense secretary said that there are reports Ukrainian special forces destroyed over 20 Russian helicopters on the ground overnight as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to face logistical problems and fierce resistance, AFP reported.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Russian forces are becoming more and more desperate in the face of such military and supply holdups, leading to “indiscriminate shelling” of civilians.

 

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