Geneva: The UN refugee agency says 1 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion less than a week ago, an exodus without precedent in this century for its speed.
The tally from UNHCR amounts to more than 2 per cent of Ukraine’s population on the move in under a week.
The World Bank counted the population at 44 million at the end of 2020.
The UN agency has predicted that up to 4 million people could eventually leave Ukraine but cautioned that even that projection could be revised upward.
In an email, UNHCR spokesperson Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams wrote: “Our data indicates we passed the 1M mark” as of midnight in central Europe, based on counts collected by national authorities.
On Twitter, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi wrote: “In just seven days we have witnessed the exodus of one million refugees from Ukraine to neighbouring countries.”
Mr Grandi appealed for the “guns to fall silent” in Ukraine so humanitarian aid could reach millions more still inside Ukraine.
Here are the top updates on the Ukraine war:
– The United Nations’ refugee agency said on Thursday that one million have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its attack on February 24. The agency predicts four million could eventually leave the war-ravaged country.
– Russian forces have now captured Kherson, which is situated in Ukraine’s southern region. With a population of 250,000, Kherson is the first significant city to fall into Russia’s hands. Till Wednesday, the Ukrainian military was continuing to defend the city, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky.
– Ukraine’s Kharkiv continues to be hit by Russian shelling with police and university buildings among the latest struck, according to news agency AFP on Thursday.
– On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution that demanded Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine. The resolution which also deplores Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in the strongest terms and condemns Vladimir Putin’s decision to put nuclear forces on alert was backed by 141 out of 193 UN member states.
– A total of 17,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine since advisories were issued and the Modi government has increased flights under Operation Ganga. On Thursday morning an Air India evacuation flight from Romania reached Mumbai.
– Two Indian nationals have died in Ukraine so far. The first death was of 21-year-old Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudar, who was killed in a suspected Russian missile strike in Kharkiv on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, 22-year-old Chandan Jindal, who was hospitalised after suffering a stroke in Ukraine last month, died.
– The Indian government has refuted Russian defence ministry claims that its nationals are being forcibly held in Kharkiv. The ministry claimed that Indians, mostly students, were being forced to evacuate through active conflict areas.