Ukrainian people received aid at Red Cross International committee near the refugees trial camp at MoldExpo national exhibition center in Chisinau, Moldova, August 5, 2022 | Photo: EPA/Dumitru Doru
Ukrainian people received aid at Red Cross International committee near the refugees trial camp at MoldExpo national exhibition center in Chisinau, Moldova, August 5, 2022 | Photo: EPA/Dumitru Doru

Around 6.6 million Ukrainians have fled abroad since Russia launched its invasion, another 6.6 million have been displaced internally, reports UN migration agency IOM. More than half of all non-EU foreigners who lived in Ukraine six months ago have fled the country.

Over 13 million people from Ukraine have had to flee their homes -- almost one third of the country's population, according a report issued by the International Organization for Migrarion (IOM) on Tuesday (August 23).

This means that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has caused "the largest displacement within Europe since the Second World War", IOM said.

Migrants faced particular hardship fleeing Ukraine

Among those who have fled Ukraine are around 300,000 third-country nationals -- migrants and refugees who are neither from Ukraine nor the European Union (EU), according to IOM. That is more than half of all non-EU foreigners living in Ukraine six months ago. Many of them faced particular hardships -- including conflicting or unclear information about the rules for foreigners -- during their journey towards safety, IOM found.

Over 13,000 civilian casualties -- 5,514 people killed and 7,698 injured -- were recorded and verified by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine as of August 15, though the actual number is believed to be much higher.

The majority of casualties have reportedly occurred in eastern Ukraine, specifically in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that have faced some of the most intense shelling and fighting of the war.

Read more: 'The Escape Diaries': A series about the personal experiences of African students who fled the war in Ukraine

IOM: More than 17 million in need of aid

More than 17.7 million people from Ukraine are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance, according to IOM's latest report. This includes Ukrainians who have not fled their home communities but have lost their jobs or businesses, whose local infrastructure has been damaged and who lack access to essential goods due to disruptions in the supply chain.

"Persons with specific vulnerabilities, including older persons, unaccompanied and separated children, and persons with disabilities have faced particular hardship, as have [...] third-country nationals," IOM said.

Wednesday (August 24) marked the six-month anniversary of Russian troops launching a large-scale attack on Ukraine, and 31 years since Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union.

 

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