Refugees from Ukraine upon arrival at the Humanitarian Aid Center in Przemysl, Poland | Photo: Darek Delmanowicz/EPA
Refugees from Ukraine upon arrival at the Humanitarian Aid Center in Przemysl, Poland | Photo: Darek Delmanowicz/EPA

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has unleashed the largest movement of refugees since World War II, the UN refugee agency has said. Roughly one third of Ukraine's population is reportedly displaced.

Russia's war of aggression against its neighbor Ukraine has caused the largest displacement crisis since the Second World War, UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Sunday (January 8).

The extent and speed are unprecedented in the history of flight and displacement since the Second World War, UNHCR said in a statement on Sunday according to news agency dpa.

"More than 7.9 million people have fled the country and another 5.9 million are displaced within Ukraine," said UNHCR representative in Germany Katharina Lumpp. Almost 14 million people correspond to more than a third of the country's total population of around 41 million.

The only other country from which more people have been forced to flee is Syria, but it took nearly 12 years of conflict to reach similar numbers (6.8 million refugees and almost 7 million internally displaced), dpa reported.

People fleeing Ukraine have gone to countries across Europe, with neighboring Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Hungary having taken in particularly large numbers. Among the nearly 8 million people who have fled to other countries are close to 600,000 so-called third-country nationals, or non-Ukrainians, according to UN migration agency IOM.

Read more: UN: More than 100 million migrants on the run worldwide

Germany again second-largest UNHCR donor

Lumpp also recognized Germany's contribution of more than €500 million to refugee support, which is second only to that of the United States. "With this money, we are able to assist refugees with safety and protection and support them in many ways," she said.

Last year, UNHCR estimated a budget of $10.7 billion, of which just under $6 billion (56%) was covered, news agency KNA reported. A good three quarters of these came from governments, including the European Union. With 21% the proportion of private donors was higher than ever, exceeding the billion mark for the first time at $1.17 billion, according to KNA.

Also read: How two Ukrainian refugees support their home country from their Latvian exile

With dpa, KNA


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