677,000 people have escaped Ukraine since start of invasion: UN

Geneva, Mar 1 (EFE).- Some 677,000 people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries since the start of the invasion Russia launched last week, the United Nations refugee chief said Tuesday.

“We are looking at what could become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told a press conference in Geneva.

More than half of those people have made it to Poland, Grandi said.

Some 90,000 others ended up in Hungary, while tens of thousands were in other neighboring countries such as Moldova, Slovakia and Romania, he added.

In the past 24 hours alone, the total number of refugees from Ukraine rose by 150,000, according to estimates by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

Grandi’s remarks came as the UNHCR launched a fundraising appeal to finance humanitarian operations for Ukrainians such as rehabilitating essential infrastructure, providing access to medical care and supporting people who have lost all sources of income.

Grandi said the most pressing appeal was the need to cease hostilities, adding that more displacement inside and outside Ukraine would take place if it did not stop.

Earlier Tuesday during the high-level UN human rights forum in Geneva, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia had decided to launch what it called a special military operation to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine, turning a deaf ear to calls by the international community to stop the invasion.EFE


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