Ukraine could become Europe’s ‘largest refugee crisis this century’: UNHCR


Kyiv (Ukraine): Amid Russia’s ongoing military operations in Ukraine, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday said the situation in Ukraine could become “Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century” with more than 600,000 refugees believed to have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries so far.

“UNHCR is mobilizing resources to respond as quickly and effectively as possible,” read a statement, CNN reported. 

Earlier on Tuesday, UNHCR issued an appeal for USD 1.7 billion in aid, estimating that 12 million people inside Ukraine could be left in need of relief and protection, with a further four million expected to be in need of assistance in neighboring countries, the report added.

As the war between Russia and Ukraine entered its sixth day, the Russian military has started encircling several Ukrainian cities.

Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the Ukrainian President, said Russian forces were trying to encircle Kyiv and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. 

Arestovich said during an address on Ukrainian television that Russian troops had bombed Kyiv, Kharkiv and the southern port city of Mariupol overnight. 

She also claimed that in response, the Ukrainian army shot down Russian military planes around Kyiv. Arestovich has stated that the current situation is under control.

According to new satellite images released by Maxar Technologies, the Russian military convoy has reached the outskirts of Kyiv and appears to be over 40 miles (64 kilometers) long.

It states that it covered the entire section of the road near Antonov Airport, about 18 miles from the capital, to the town of Pribirsk – a distance of about 40 miles.

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“With some parts of the route, some vehicles are far away, while in other sections, military equipment and units are traveling two or three vehicles on the road,” Maxar said.

“Several houses and buildings are seen burning near the roads north and northwest of Ivankeev, where the convoy is traveling,” it added.

first published:March 1, 2022, 8:46 p.m.

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