6th Jun 2023

Almost 10m people left Ukraine as Russia eyes more gains

  • Poland currently hosts 1.2m Ukrainian refugees. In Germany, 670,000 Ukrainians are registered, and the Czech Republic recorded almost 400,000 Ukrainians as refugees (Photo: Nikolaj Nielsen)
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The number of border crossings from Ukraine has surpassed 9.5 million for the first time since Russia invaded the country, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported on Wednesday (20 July).

A total of 9,547,969 border crossings from Ukraine have been recorded since 24 February, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the UN data showed.

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The UN says that as of 19 July, more than 5,984,263 refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe.

More than 3,703,189 have applied for temporary residence in another country, the UN said.

Border crossing to Ukraine have been recorded at 3,793,403 since February.

According to the UN agency, over 4.7 million people crossed to Poland, another close to one million crossed to Hungary and Romania.

Poland currently hosts 1.2m Ukrainian refugees. In Germany, 670,000 Ukrainians are registered, and the Czech Republic recorded almost 400,000 Ukrainians as refugees.

Many refugees from Ukraine are forced to go to Russia, subjected to human rights abuses along the way, stripped of documents and left confused and lost about where they are, an investigation by the AP news agency found.

The UN recorded 1.7m border crossings from Ukraine to Russia.

And the war's end is not in sight.

More territories

Ukrainian forces on Wednesday damaged a bridge that is key to supplying Russian troops in southern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow will consolidate its territorial gains in the south.

He said that Russia plans to retain control over broader areas beyond eastern Ukraine, including the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in the south, and will make more gains elsewhere.

With Western countries providing Ukraine with longer-range weapons, Lavrov said Russia's "geographical tasks will be pushed even further from the current line because we cannot allow the part of Ukraine under control of Zelensky or whoever comes to succeed him, to have weapons that will pose a direct threat to our territory and the territories of those republics that have declared their independence."

After Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, in the face of Ukrainian resistance, it withdrew from the capital region and north to concentrate on seizing Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, which pro-Moscow separatists have partly controlled since 2014.

As Russian forces captured more of the two provinces, Ukrainian officials planned a counter-offensive to retake Russian-occupied areas in the south.

In an effort to support that struggle, Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska, appealed to US lawmakers during a speech at the US Capitol, for more air defence systems.

In the meantime, EU ambassadors have been edging closer to a deal on new sanctions against Russia.

New plans include banning gold imports and tightening export controls on some high-technology goods.

However, Zelensky said the latest, seventh round of measures are not enough.

"This is not enough and I am telling my partners this frankly. Russia must feel a much higher price for the war to force it to seek peace," he said in a late-night video address.

Czech presidency to fortify EU embrace of Ukraine

The Czech Republic took over the EU's rotating presidency on Friday (1 July), which will be dominated by the economic and humanitarian outfall of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

UN: 10 million fled Ukraine since war began

The escalation of the war in Ukraine has forced more than 10 million people from Ukraine to cross the border into neighbouring countries since late February, the UN reported.

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