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The United Nations refugee agency has revealed more than one million Ukrainians have fled the country in the seven days since Vladimir Putin sent troops across the border.
Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), announced the figure in a statement on Twitter at around midnight GMT last night, March 2.
Grandi has been posting regular updates online about the number of Ukraine residents who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, with the figure at 875,000 just a few hours before he confirmed it had reached one million.
In just seven days we have witnessed the exodus of one million refugees from Ukraine to neighbouring countries.— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) March 2, 2022
For many millions more, inside Ukraine, it’s time for guns to fall silent, so that life-saving humanitarian assistance can be provided.
Announcing the staggering number of people who have been forced to leave their homes, Grandi said: 'In just seven days we have witnessed the exodus of one million refugees from Ukraine to neighbouring countries. For many millions more, inside Ukraine, it’s time for guns to fall silent, so that life-saving humanitarian assistance can be provided.'
Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams, a spokesperson for the UNHCR, explained the agency's data indicated the one million mark was passed 'as of midnight in central Europe based on counts collected by national authorities'.
According to statistics reported by the World Bank and cited by The Independent, Ukraine’s population stood at 44 million at the end of 2020, meaning the war has ousted around 2% of Ukraine's population in less than a week.
Shortly before his update on the latest figures, the high commissioner announced plans to travel to Romania, Moldova and Poland in the next few days to 'assess the situation of refugees and assure host governments of UNHCR’s support.'
In the first several days since the start of the military offensive in Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of people have sought safety in Poland.— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) March 2, 2022
We’re supporting authorities on the ground, and provide information, legal assistance, relief supplies & more. https://t.co/Eve1DPeWcY pic.twitter.com/58H64qdCLd
It comes after the UN appealed for $1.7 billion (£1.2 billion) on Tuesday to assist in the urgent delivery of humanitarian support to those still living in Ukraine and refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries.
In a statement, the UNHCR estimated that 12 million people inside Ukraine will be in need of relief and protection, while more than four million Ukraine refugees 'may need protection and assistance in neighbouring countries in the coming months.'
Grandi commented: 'We are looking at what could become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century.'
The UN has estimated that hundreds of civilians have been killed following the start of the invasion, though Ukraine's state emergency service has claimed more than 2,000 lives have been lost.
On Wednesday, six days after Russia first began bombing Ukraine, the country's government claimed nearly 6,000 Russian troops had been killed, while Moscow said the figure was 498.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
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