Ukraine: the threshold of two million refugees crossed "today or tomorrow", according to the UN

Posted 08 March, 2022

The milestone of two million refugees caused by the Russian military offensive in Ukraine should be crossed "today" or "tomorrow", said Tuesday the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

"I think we will pass the two million mark today or maybe tomorrow at the latest" Wednesday, Grandi said at a press conference in Oslo. "So it doesn't stop."

On Monday, more than 1.7 million Ukrainian refugees had already been counted, according to the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The UN official made the remarks after visiting Romania, Moldova, and Poland, three countries bordering Ukraine, where Russia launched a military offensive on February 24.

He praised the "exemplary" welcome provided by these three countries.

"For the moment, I think they manage to manage (...) the spontaneous natural distribution" of these refugees who, he underlined, are for the moment those who have "some resources": " many arrive by car and, above all, they have connections, they can go where they have family, friends, community”.

"It is possible that if the war continues (...) we will start to see people without resources or connections and it will be a more difficult problem for European countries to manage, there will be a need for more solidarity by all the world in Europe and beyond" for their welcome, he underlined.

The wars in the Balkans, in Bosnia, and in Kosovo, in the 1990s had also caused enormous flows of refugees, "perhaps two or three million, but over a period of eight years", also noted Mr. Grandi. "There, it's eight days".

"Other parts of the world have seen this, but in Europe, it's the first time since World War II," he said.

After several unsuccessful attempts, Russia promised to open humanitarian corridors on Tuesday morning to allow thousands of civilians to flee the main Ukrainian cities, under Russian artillery fire for nearly two weeks.

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