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More than 2.8 million flee Ukraine war: UN

More than 2.8 million flee Ukraine war: UN

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The number of refugees who have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24 has topped 2.8 million, the United Nations said Monday.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said 2,808,792 refugees had now left the country -- up another 110,512 from Sunday -- making it the largest refugee exodus in Europe since World War II.

UNICEF said more than one million children had fled Ukraine in search of safety and protection.

"They need peace NOW," the UN children's agency added.

The UNHCR initially estimated that up to four million people could leave, but last week admitted that figure might well be revised upwards.

Before the conflict, Ukraine had a population of 37 million in the regions under government control, excluding Russia-annexed Crimea and the pro-Russian separatist regions in the east.

"People continue to flee the war in Ukraine every minute," said the UN's International Organization for Migration.

Some 127,000 third-country nationals, mainly students and migrant workers, are among the 2.8 million who have fled Ukraine, IOM said.

Many refugees who make it to Ukraine's seven neighbouring countries travel onwards to other states, particularly in western Europe.

Here is a breakdown of where refugees from Ukraine are, according to the UNHCR:

- Poland -

More than six in 10 of the Ukrainian refugees are being hosted by Poland, with 1,720,227 now in the country, according to the UNHCR.

Tens of thousands of people are also entering Ukraine from Poland -- mostly those returning to fight but also others seeking to care for elderly relatives or returning to bring their families out to Poland.

Before the crisis, around 1.5 million Ukrainians lived in Poland, the vast majority working in the EU nation.

- Elsewhere in Europe -

Up to the end of Friday, 304,156 of those who had fled Ukraine had moved beyond neighbouring states to other European countries, according to the UNHCR.

- Hungary -

A total of 255,291 are now on Hungarian soil.

Hungary has five border posts with Ukraine and several frontier towns, including Zahony, where local authorities have turned public buildings into emergency centres for refugees.

- Slovakia -

Some 204,862 refugees are now in Slovakia.

Another 8,882 people crossed Ukraine's shortest border on Sunday, officials said.

- Russia -

Some 131,365 refugees have sought shelter in Russia.

In addition, UNHCR said 96,000 people had crossed into Russia from the pro-Russian Donetsk and Lugansk regions of eastern Ukraine between February 18 and 23.

- Moldova -

Many Ukrainians fleeing the fighting transit through Moldova, a small nation of 2.6 million people and one of the poorest in Europe, on route westwards to Romania and on to Hungary.

The UNHCR says 106,994 are currently in Moldova. It is the closest border to the major port city of Odessa.

The non-EU state said Monday that 297,728 people in total had crossed over from Ukraine.

- Romania -

The UNHCR has not updated statistics for Romania, but on March 8 said 84,671 people who had crossed over from Ukraine were in the country.

Bucharest said Monday that 412,017 people had fled across the border, the vast majority of whom have moved on to other European countries.

Another 14,475 Ukrainians entered on Sunday, including 6,612 directly from Ukraine.

- Belarus -

Some 1,226 refugees have made it to Belarus, the UNHCR says.