UN: 1.3M people flee after Russian invasion of Ukraine


GENEVA – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced 1.3 million people to flee the country, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said as another UN organization said the fighting has severely affected the water, sanitation, and hygiene for millions of besieged Ukrainians.

“Unless there is an immediate end to the conflict, millions more are likely to be forced to flee,” the refugee agency tweeted as the death toll also continues to mount.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Saturday it has recorded 1,058 casualties in Ukraine: 351 of them killed and 707 injured.

The Human Rights Office said according to figures from Ukrainian authorities, 39 people had been killed in the Kharkiv region near the Russian border.

“OHCHR believes that the real figures are considerably higher, especially in the government-controlled territory and especially in recent days, as the receipt of information from some locations where intensive hostilities have been going on was delayed and many reports were still pending corroboration,” the agency said.

Civilian casualties

It gave the town of Volnovakha as an example where hundreds of civilian casualties have been alleged.

“These figures are being further corroborated and are not included in the above statistics,” said the rights office.

The number of newly displaced families within Ukraine or crossing borders to seek safety “keeps increasing dramatically by the hour,” said UNHCR on its website.

“On 24 February, the Russian Federation launched a broad military offensive against Ukraine…. sparking the largest humanitarian crisis Europe has seen since World War 2. The hostilities raise multiple protection concerns,” the International Organization for Migration, IOM, said.

The escalation of the violence in Ukraine has severely affected the water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure in the region.

IOM said it plans to support conflict-affected populations through the rehabilitation of water supply systems and sanitation infrastructure as well as to distribute hygiene kits to displaced populations.

Ukraine on Friday claimed that a total of 9,166 Russian soldiers had been killed since the start of Russia’s war on its neighbor.

In a statement, the Ukrainian General Staff said since the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian army had destroyed 33 Russian-owned aircraft, 37 helicopters, 251 tanks, 939 armored vehicles, 105 artillery systems, and two light speedboats.

Russian forces also lost 50 multiple rocket launcher systems, 404 vehicles, 60 fuel vehicles, 18 anti-aircraft warfare systems, and three unmanned aerial vehicles, according to the statement. (Anadolu)