Ukraine invasion: One million refugees have fled the country – and some mothers are leaving their children at the border, UNHCR says | World News

One million people have fled Ukraine in a week after Russia invaded the country, the United Nations refugee agency has said.

It adds that some women are leaving their children at the border to return home and continue fighting for their country with their husbands.

Christine Pirovolakis, UNHCR senior external relations officer, said more than half of those who had fled the country have been received by Poland.

Ukraine-Russia news live – latest updates as Russia ‘seizes’ Kherson

“It is women, children and the elderly that have been escaping and seeking protection with literally only small pieces of luggage and the clothes on their backs,” she told Sky News.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

DJ Nastia on her escape from Ukraine

She said it was proving to be a “challenge”, with psychological support being offered to women and children as they cross borders “because they have been traumatised by what is happening”.

Asked how many children are being left at the border by their mothers, she replied: “We don’t know, but the UNHCR is at the border and is looking after all unaccompanied children that are crossing and ensuring that they are protected, that the national authorities are looking to put them in protection services and that they are being cared for.

“The next step will of course be family reunion, and in these circumstances, the situation is changing all the time.”

She said the situation is also dire within Ukraine: There are one million people who have been internally displaced amid heavy fighting and there are a lot of casualties.

“People remain trapped – and for us, we have prepositions and supplies within Ukraine but it has been really difficult to get those emergency supplies to people in need,” she said.

Follow the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

‘It’s time for guns to fall silent’

The agency has cautioned that the outflows are far from finished and has predicted that as many as four million people could eventually leave the country.

“In just seven days we have witnessed the exodus of one million refugees from Ukraine to neighbouring countries,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi wrote on Twitter.

“For many millions more, inside Ukraine, it’s time for guns to fall silent, so that life-saving humanitarian assistance can be provided.”

Fighting continues on multiple fronts across Ukraine, forcing Ukrainians to flee into neighbouring European countries like Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary amid ongoing Russian attacks.

Key developments in the Ukraine crisis:

• Ukraine’s president Zelenskyy has claimed nearly 9,000 Russian soldiers have been killed so far
• Russia says 498 of its soldiers have been killed and 1,597 wounded
Paralympic bosses make U-turn and ban Russian and Belarusian athletes
Five children among those detained in Moscow for laying flowers at Ukraine embassy
• International Criminal Court opens investigation into possible war crimes
• A second round of talks between Russia and Ukraine is expected later

Families have been torn apart as women and children are given priority at congested border crossings while many Ukrainian men – fathers, brothers, husbands – of fighting age (18-60) have been urged to stay behind and fight for their country.

‘Saying goodbye to my husband was like a scene from a film’

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Tearful evacuee left husband behind

Kseniya Khizhnyak, fled her home in Kyiv and is currently with her daughters, aged eight and six, in western Ukraine. Her husband returned to join the army.

She told Sky News: “I thought the hardest moment was when we were leaving our apartment in Kyiv – and I don’t know if I will ever come back there – but saying goodbye to my husband was much harder. This is not something that normal people should do.

“It was like a scene from some films, when a woman says goodbye to a man and then she doesn’t know if she’s ever going to see him again, and that is what is happening to my life, so it’s something unbelievable.

“I don’t know what is going to happen to him, but I know that was his duty to go there, to go back.”

She said of her girls: “I’m not sure they realise what is going on actually, because we are telling them it is war, but for them actually, it is not something they can really imagine or realise.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ukrainians are ‘strong people’

Discrimination claims at borders

There have been allegations that people are facing discrimination at borders, with some black students describing segregated gates for Ukrainians and non-white people.

Ms Pirovolakis said the UNHCR is working to ensure “everyone regardless of nationality and race is allowed into countries to seek safety and protection”.

She said: “Everyone has the right to seek asylum and we are being assured by all the national governments. We are advocating on this, the high commissioner is, and all the national governments have assured UNHCR that all the borders will remain open to everyone.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Minister: Govt to speed up visa process

UK steps up visa capacity

There is no suggestion of a delay in helping Ukrainian refugees, with a further scheme to open tomorrow, UK Security minister Damian Hinds said on Thursday.

He said he wanted to make sure those fleeing the Russian invasion had the “warmest, most supportive welcome possible” in Britain.

He said as well as a “couple of hundred thousand” entering via the extended family programme – which will be open to applications on Friday – others would be eligible via a “community sponsorship route”, along with already established schemes.

Asked how many visa applications had been submitted since last Wednesday, Mr Hinds said: “So far a relatively small number – I can’t give you an exact number – but we expect that to grow rapidly.

“So we are stepping up the capacity. We are very soon up to capacity for 6,000, and we will keep that under review and if it needs to increase, it will increase – and that’s just in the immediate region. There is also of course application centres across Europe.”

Source link

About admin

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: