Ukraine refugee numbers set to hit two-million mark, UNHCR says

Paris, Mar 8 (EFE).- The number of Ukrainian refugees who have fled their country is set to exceed two million by Tuesday or Wednesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has warned, adding that hundreds of thousands had been displaced within Ukraine as well.

In an interview to French radio broadcaster France Inter on Tuesday, the head of the UN refugee agency said that the number of people from Ukraine who have joined the exodus to other countries would go past two million by “today or tomorrow at the latest.”

He said that additionally, there were “hundreds of thousand of people” within Ukraine on the move to escape combat zones, with most moving towards the west and likely to try and cross the border in future as the war progresses.

According to the UNHCR, the conflict could result in the exodus of up to four million Ukrainians or around 10 percent of the total population.

The European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrel said on Monday that the EU should prepare to receive around five million refugees due to the war.

Asked about ways to help with the humanitarian crisis, Grandi said that money was the biggest necessity, to buy “what was required,” and urged people to donate through “trustable” organizations.

He said that the second phase of aid work would require housing and hosting refugees.

Responding to reports of alleged discrimination towards some African refugees at the Polish border, Grandi said that he had discussed the issue with Poland’s authorities, who said that the hassle was the result of administrative issues.

The commissioner said that he had not come across cases of discrimination, without ruling out that they could have occurred, and insisted that there was no “wish” to discriminate and there would not be in future either.

In line with explanations offered by Polish authorities, European Council President Charles Michel alleged on Sunday that the controversy over the alleged systematic discrimination against African students at the border was “Russian propaganda.”

Grandi said that “attacking civilians was the worst violation of international human rights,” without being drawn into the question of whether there were proofs of Russian troops committing war crimes in Ukraine. EFE


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