UN reports more than 12 million Ukrainians flee homes after Russian invasion

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported Monday that more than 12 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine since the Russian Invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022. Over 5.6 million have left for neighboring countries and another 6.5 million people are estimated to be displaced inside Ukraine.

The risk of serious injury and death posed by the invasion has forced many civilians to evacuate their homes to pursue safety, security, and assistance. In the first five weeks of the invasion, more than four million Ukrainians migrated into neighboring countries.

The UNHCR has kept a constant track on the situation in Ukraine and provides information on civilian casualties using interviews, official records, picture and video materials, court documents, and medical data.

Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, urged citizens in the country’s east to evacuate or risk their lives ahead of the Russian invasion. The precise number of those who were able to evacuate is still uncertain. The UNHCR’s 6.5 million figure is based on research completed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) between March 9th and 16th. Moreover, of the 2,000 internally displaced people the IOM surveyed, nearly 30% had come from Kyiv, more than 36% had fled from the east of Ukraine and 20% had come from the north. Nearly 40% are now in the west of Ukraine, with less than 3% in Kyiv, and only 5% had left their homes in anticipation of the invasion, with the vast majority fleeing either at the start of the war or when it reached their area.

According to the IOM surveys, more than half of those internally displaced are women, and many of them are classified as particularly vulnerable because they are pregnant, disabled, or have been victims of violence.