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UN: Number of refugees from Ukraine tops 3 million, nearly half of them children

Refugee agency says 1.7 million have entered Poland; Red Cross warns millions facing food and medicine shortage and danger from shelling, airstrikes

An aerial view of Ukrainian refugees waiting for transport at the border crossing at Medyka, Poland, March 13, 2022. (AP Photo)
An aerial view of Ukrainian refugees waiting for transport at the border crossing at Medyka, Poland, March 13, 2022. (AP Photo)

GENEVA, Switzerland — More than three million people have now fled Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, the United Nations said Tuesday.

“We have now reached the 3 million mark in terms of movement of people out of Ukraine,” Paul Dillon, spokesman for the UN’s International Organization for Migration, told reporters in Geneva.

More than 1.4 million of these are children, according to the UN children’s agency UNICEF, while 157,000 are third-country nationals, IOM said.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, had yet to update its figures, and had put the figure until Tuesday at 2.95 million.

Among those, it said, more than half, or 1.7 million, had crossed into Poland. More than 450,000 are in Romania, close to 350,000 in Moldova, nearly 265,000 in Hungary, and almost 215,000 in Slovakia.

In addition, more than 140,000 had gone to Russia and more than 1,200 to Belarus, according to the UNHCR numbers.

A mother who fled Ukraine reads a story to her daughter in a refugee center in Korczowa, Poland, March 13, 2022. (Petros Giannakouris/AP)

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators planned to hold a second day of talks as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its 20th day.

The Red Cross and the United Nations refugee agency say millions of people face food and medicine shortages along with the immediate conflict threats of shelling and air attacks.

The Ukrainian government said new aid and evacuation efforts would take place Tuesday along nine corridors around the country, including the Kyiv region. But past evacuation attempts have repeatedly failed amid continued fighting.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said an evacuation involving 30 buses was planned from Sumy in northeast Ukraine. The organization said it still had not gotten aid to Mariupol, an encircled port city of 430,000 where local officials estimate a lethal siege has killed more than 2,300 people and left residents desperate for food, water, heat and medicine.

Russia’s invasion has shocked the world, upended Europe’s post-Cold War security order and driven millions from their homes. Russia’s military is bigger and better equipped than Ukraine’s, but its troops have faced stiffer-than-expected resistance, bolstered by arms supplied by the West.

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