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Over 5 million have fled Ukraine since Russian invasion, UN says

World body says more than 4.7 million Ukrainians and another 215,000 foreign nationals have fled to neighboring countries since war began; nearly 24,000 in Israel

Ukrainians carrying their belongings line up to enter in Poland as they flee their country crossing the Medyka border, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)
Ukrainians carrying their belongings line up to enter in Poland as they flee their country crossing the Medyka border, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP)  — More than five million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion, UN figures showed on Friday, in Europe’s fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 4,796,245 million Ukrainians had left the country since February 24.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) says nearly 215,000 third-country nationals have also escaped to neighboring countries.

Friday’s figures from the UNHCR were up 59,774 on those issued Thursday.

More than 2.7 million Ukrainian refugees — nearly six in 10 who have left since the war began — have fled to Poland. More than 725,000 reached Romania.

UNHCR figures show nearly 645,000 Ukrainians fled in February, with nearly 3.4 million doing so in March and more than 760,000 leaving so far this month.

Women and children account for 90 percent of those who escaped, with men aged 18 to 60 eligible for military call-up and unable to leave.

Ukrainian refugees wait for a transport at the central train station in Warsaw, Poland, March 27, 2022. (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

Nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have been forced from their homes, including those still inside the country.

The nearly 215,000 third-country nationals who have fled — people who are citizens of neither Ukraine nor the country they entered — are largely students and migrant workers.

Beyond the refugees, the IOM estimates 7.1 million people have left their homes but are still in Ukraine.

Before the invasion, Ukraine had a population of 37 million in the regions under government control, excluding Russia-annexed Crimea and the pro-Russian separatist-controlled regions in the east.

Here is a breakdown of how many Ukrainian refugees have fled to neighboring countries, according to UNHCR:

Poland

Nearly six out of 10 Ukrainian refugees — 2,720,622 so far — have crossed into Poland, according to the UN.

Many people who go to Ukraine’s immediate western neighbors travel on to other states in Europe’s Schengen open-borders zone.

The World Health Organization said Poland had made 7,000 hospital beds available for the sick and wounded from Ukraine, of which 20 percent were currently in use.

Some 652,000 people have crossed from Poland into Ukraine since the war began.

Before the crisis, Poland was already home to around 1.5 million Ukrainians, chiefly migrant workers.

Romania

A total of 726,857 Ukrainians entered the EU member state, including a large number who crossed over from Moldova, wedged between Romania and Ukraine.

The vast majority are thought to have gone on to other countries.

Russia

Another 484,725 refugees have sought shelter in Russia.

In addition, 105,000 people crossed into Russia from the separatist-held pro-Russian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine between February 18 and 23.

Hungary

A total of 447,053 Ukrainians have entered Hungary.

Moldova

The Moldovan border is the closest to the major port city of Odessa. A total of 419,499 Ukrainians have crossed into the non-EU state, one of the poorest in Europe.

Volunteers help an elderly woman in a wheelchair after fleeing the war from neighboring Ukraine, at the border crossing in Palanca, Moldova, Saturday, March 19, 2022. (AP/Sergei Grits)

Most of those who have entered the former Soviet republic of 2.6 million people have moved on but an estimated 100,000 remain, including 50,000 children — of whom only 1,800 are enrolled in schools.

“Refugee children from Ukraine have fled a brutal war and have arrived dispossessed and traumatized in Moldova. They are very vulnerable and need immediate support,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.

“Public schools are open to refugee children; however, the capacity is overstretched and there is a need for urgent mental health and psycho-social services, sanitation, and teachers.”

Slovakia

A total of 329,597 people crossed Ukraine’s shortest border into Slovakia.

Israel

As of Wednesday, 23,932 Ukrainians have entered Israel since the start of the war. Another approximately 20,000 Ukrainians already in Israel — most of them foreign workers — are being allowed to stay.

Ukrainians disembark from a special flight to Israel from Romania upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport, March 8, 2022. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP)

Belarus

Another 22,827 refugees have made it north to Russia’s close ally Belarus.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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