How many Ukrainians have fled their homes and where have they gone?


Russia has moved most of its focus to eastern Ukraine, after pulling back its forces from near the capital, Kyiv.

Residents were urged to leave the region ahead of the latest offensive.

More than 11 million people are believed to have fled their homes in Ukraine since the conflict began, according to the United Nations.

As well as the five million who have left for neighbouring countries, another 6.5 million people are thought to be displaced inside the war-torn country itself.

Where are people fleeing inside Ukraine?
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, warned people in the east of the country to evacuate ahead of the latest Russian assault, or risk their life.

How many were able to leave is unknown.

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko told national TV about 100,000 people remain trapped in his city.

The government hoped to send 90 buses to evacuate about 6,000 people on Wednesday, he said.

The UN’s 6.5 million figure is based on research carried out by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) between 9 and 16 March.

The actual total is likely to have increased in the intervening weeks.

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% were now in the west of Ukraine, with less than 3% in Kyiv
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
The IOM estimates that more than half of the people who are internally displaced are women, and many are deemed particularly vulnerable because they are pregnant, have a disability or are a victim of violence.

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What is being done for people fleeing inside Ukraine?
The UN, which is working alongside other organisations to provide help to people in Ukraine, says it is offering humanitarian assistance “wherever necessary and possible”. This includes:

giving cash to people for basics like food and rent
delivering supplies from west to east, including food and tarpaulins for homes damaged by shelling
providing folding beds to people in bomb shelters
setting up reception and transit points for internally-displaced people
About 12 million people are also thought to be stranded or unable to leave areas affected by the fighting.

A Ukrainian refugee arrives in Poland on 27 March
Where are Ukraine’s refugees going?
Refugees are also crossing to neighbouring countries to the west, mostly Poland.

The UN says that as of 19 April, more than five million people have left Ukraine:

Poland has taken in 2,825,463 refugees
Romania 757,047
Russia 549,805
Hungary 471,080
Moldova 426,964
Slovakia 342,813
Belarus 23,759
Some people have travelled from Moldova into Romania and so are included in both countries’ totals.

Poland, Hungary and Slovakia are part of the Schengen area, where there are no internal border controls.

And many of those counted when they initially crossed into these countries may have since travelled to other countries.

How are refugees leaving Ukraine?
Trains heading towards Ukraine’s border have been packed, and there have been long queues of traffic on roads leading out of the country.

Refugees at Lviv National University of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnology, Ukraine
Image caption,
The UN estimates that at least 6.5 million people are displaced inside Ukraine
Refugees don’t need all their official documents, but it is helpful if they can provide provide identification cards or passports, birth certificates of children travelling with them and and medical documentation.

To get refugee status, they need to be Ukrainian citizens or people legally living in Ukraine, such as foreign students.

There have been reports of people from African countries being prevented from leaving Ukraine.

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What help are countries offering refugees?
In countries bordering Ukraine, refugees can stay in reception centres if they can’t stay with friends or relatives. They are given food and medical care, and information about onward travel.

The EU has granted Ukrainians who flee the war a blanket right to stay and work throughout its 27 member nations for up to three years.

They will also receive social welfare and access to housing, medical treatment and schools.

Media caption,
Watch: The challenges of trying to raise a baby in war-torn Kyiv
The government of Poland, which has received the highest number of refugees, has said it will need more money than the EU is currently offering in order to host the number of people arriving there.

Moldova, which has the largest concentration of refugees per capita, has also appealed for international help in dealing with the numbers arriving.

Couple hire hotel in Poland to house refugees
Poland feels the strain of Ukraine’s refugees
People fleeing the Ukraine conflict at an athletics arena in Chisinau, Moldova
Image caption,
Hundreds of refugees are living in this athletics centre in Moldova
What is the UK doing to help Ukrainian refugees?
The UK launched a family visa scheme for Ukrainians who have an immediate or extended family member in the UK.

After the UK government was criticised for the speed and scale of its response, it also launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Under this scheme, people in the UK can nominate an individual or family to stay with them rent-free for at least six months.

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Refugees who come via the scheme will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years, and access healthcare, welfare and schools.

Applications are made online, and both hosts and refugees will be vetted. Hosts will receive £350 a month and there will be no cap on the numbers able to come to the UK.