MADRID, March 4. (EUROPE PRESS) –
The number of refugees who have fled from Ukraine since the start of the Russian military offensive on February 24 now amounts to more than 1.2 million, according to data published this Friday by the United Nations, which places just over half of these people in Poland.
Specifically, some 650,000 people have arrived in Poland, while Hungary, the second country with the most refugees, is close to 145,000. Moldova accumulates 103,000, while Slovakia and Romania have 90,000 and 57,000 refugees, respectively.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also includes in its balance another 96,000 people evacuated to Russia from the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, before the conflict ended last week.
The UN estimates that the exodus will continue in the coming days – Poland alone reports some 100,000 arrivals per day – and works with a scenario in which there are some four million refugees.
Given the magnitude of the emergency, the EU interior ministers on Thursday automatically granted displaced Ukrainian nationals temporary protection that allows them to travel freely within the bloc, settle in any of its member states, seek employment and have access to medical care.
The UNHCR director for Europe, Pascale Moreau, has celebrated this “unprecedented” fact, although he has also urged to extend the rights to people from third countries with legal residence in Ukraine and to stateless people.
The agency already speaks “of the biggest refugee crisis in Europe in this century.” “Many EU states have shown great support and yesterday’s decision reinforces this solidarity, which we hope will continue,” Moreau said.