The United Nations estimates 368,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed into neighboring countries, with the bulk ending up in Poland, and others have sought safety in Hungary, Moldova, Romania due to the Russian invasion, and that number appears to be increasing by the day.
"The number of refugees from Ukraine who have crossed to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and other countries is escalating and is now 368,000. The governments and people of those countries are welcoming refugees," UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi tweeted on Sunday.
The number of refugees from Ukraine who have crossed to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and other countries is escalating and is now 368,000.— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) February 27, 2022
The governments and people of those countries are welcoming refugees. It is now urgent to share this responsibility in concrete ways.
Since Russian forces began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday to "demilitarize" the country, a mass exodus of Ukrainians is underway to escape cities and towns, clogging up highways and railways as people moved westward towards Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.
The scale of the mass exodus could be the largest seen in years. The UN forecasts with cash, food, and fuel dwindling in Ukraine, as many as 5 million people could flee the country for neighboring ones. It may soon supersede Europe's humanitarian emergency in 2015 when more than a million Syrian, Iraqi, and Afghan refugees entered the continent.
For now, Central Europe is welcoming Ukrainian refugees with open arms, and Poland is expected to accommodate up to a million new ones. Videos and pictures are circulating on Twitter showing the exodus at multiple border checkpoints between Ukraine and other countries.
Scale of this refugee crisis dawning on me properly. Ukrainian side of UA/Slovakian border. pic.twitter.com/AGMWt0kSpP— Paraic O'Brien (@paraicobrien) February 27, 2022
@BBCKasiaMadera is on the Poland-Ukraine border talking to Polish people offering kindness, clothing and shelter to Ukrainians trying to escape. The temperature has dropped and people are tired, hungry and afraid @BBCWorld #Ukraine #UkraineUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/HZ0jeyJIty— Clare Casey (@clarelcasey1) February 27, 2022
1️⃣4️⃣ km backlog at the border crossing to Poland 🇵🇱— Chris Melzer (@ChrisMelzer_NYC) February 26, 2022
4️⃣0️⃣ hours waiting time
minus 2️⃣ degrees in the night
4️⃣5️⃣2️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ #Refugees in just 15 hours in Poland alone
1️⃣ shared fate#Ukraine #UNHCR pic.twitter.com/kleggxQKyX
Poland, which has seen the largest influx, pledged their support to refugees. The US Army's 82nd Airborne Division is helping Poland with the inflow of refugees. As the conflict in Ukraine drags on, Europe's welcome mat remains open.