The UN fears that millions will flee from Ukraine

Photo: AP Photo / Czarek Sokolowski

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is preparing for up to four million Ukrainian refugees to leave the country.

The fear is that this scenario could become a reality if the hostilities in Ukraine continue to escalate.

Several thousand Ukrainians have already crossed the borders into Poland, Moldova, Slovakia, and Russia. A spokesman for the UNHCR said on Friday that they were ready to help those fleeing.

So far, the UN has received reports of 25 civilians killed and over a hundred wounded in Ukraine after Russia launched its invasion. It is believed that the real number may be much higher.

Refugees at the border

Slovakia already said on Thursday night that they had many refugees at the border. At the Vysne Nemecke border crossing, a queue formed with a waiting time of up to eight hours, the Slovak customs service said.

The health authorities in the country have announced that war refugees are exempt from all corona-related entry restrictions that apply to other arrivals.

Poland has recently announced plans to build shelters for refugees.

Urgent meeting

Hungary announced this week that it was sending additional forces to the border with Ukraine to deal with the expected influx of refugees and offer humanitarian aid.

On Saturday, EU interior and immigration ministers will meet for an emergency meeting to discuss “concrete answers” to the crisis in Ukraine, according to French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

On Thursday, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that the EU had prepared contingency plans for refugees together with the member states.

Free train

In the Czech Republic, Ukrainians now have the opportunity to travel by free train, the state-owned railway company Ceske Drahy reported. The offer is intended to help those who want to travel the other way – back to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian authorities have issued a general mobilization order and are asking their citizens, who can take part in the defense against Russia’s invasion, to return to the country.

According to figures from the Ministry of the Interior in Prague, almost 200,000 Ukrainians lived in the Czech Republic at the time of the previous census.

Threat to children’s lives

UNICEF ​​is strengthening its presence in Moldova, Romania, Poland, Hungary, and Slovenia. Shelters for women and children are set up along the escape routes, UNICEF reports.

“The military operation in Ukraine poses an immediate threat to the lives and well-being of the country’s 7.5 million children,” UNICEF wrote in a press release.

It urged all parties to protect the children affected at all times and to ensure that humanitarian actors can quickly and safely reach children in need, no matter where they are.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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