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Ukraine crisis: UN reports the number of refugees has reached 2.8 million yen

KRAKOW, POLAND/ISACCEA, ROMANIA – People fleeing the relative safety of western Ukraine joined thousands of people into Eastern Europe on Monday after Russia attacked a Ukrainian base near the border. with Poland, a NATO member.

Ukraine said 35 people were killed at the base on Sunday. Moscow said up to 180 “foreign mercenaries” were killed and a large number of foreign weapons destroyed.

Ukraine also reported new air strikes on an airport in the west of the country. Read full story

The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24 has risen to more than 2.8 million, UN data showed on Monday, amid a growing refugee crisis. fastest in Europe since World War II.

European Union officials say 5 million people are likely to flee, while others put the toll higher.

Millions of people have also been displaced inside Ukraine, with many only being evacuated to quieter western regions, including to cities like Lviv.

Myroslava, 52, had fled her home in the Ternopil region of western Ukraine, and was waiting at a terminus of Krakow station, Poland, to be picked up by an acquaintance. She didn’t know where she would be.

“We left because of yesterday’s attack,” she said, adding that she had hoped western Ukraine would be safe. “We weren’t going to leave, but because it was so close, we decided.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference with his Ukrainian and Lithuanian counterparts that the attack near their border showed that Russia wanted to “create panic among civilians.” Read full story

Mira from Kyiv, traveling with her mother to Warsaw, said she was surprised by the Russian attack near Lviv. “I just panicked and felt scared,” she said.

Battles continued around many of Ukraine’s main cities, including the capital, Kyiv. Ukraine said it would attempt to evacuate civilians through 10 humanitarian corridors on Monday. Read the full story Read the full story

Russia denies targeting civilians, describing its actions as a “special operation” aimed at the demilitarization and “de-fascistization” of Ukraine. Ukraine and its Western allies call this a baseless pretext for Russia’s invasion of a democratic country of 44 million people.

“Houses were blown up,” said Alena Kasinyska, a refugee from the town of Mykolaiv, in southern Ukraine, after crossing Romania at Isaccea, a crowded border crossing in the Danube Delta. “People have nowhere to live, we’re very scared.”

Ukraine said it had begun “tough” talks on a ceasefire, immediate withdrawal and security guarantees with Russia on Monday.

Both sides reported rare progress over the weekend after previous rounds had largely focused on ceasefires to aid cities besieged by Russian forces and evacuate civilians. These bets often fail.

BED AND SOURCE

Frontline countries such as Poland, which has welcomed more than half of the total number of fugitives, and Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Moldova, have received the majority of the refugees, some of whom have subsequently traveled west.

Polish border guards say about 1.76 million people have entered the country since the fighting began, with 18,400 arriving in the early hours of Monday.

Makeshift beds and shift canteens have sprung up in convention centers and deserted shopping malls around the area while volunteers work long hours to hand out hot drinks and free SIM cards. , or send refugees further west.

At a youth education center near Auschwitz, usually dedicated to preserving memories of the Holocaust and World War II, nearly 2,000 meals have been served to refugees in the past few weeks.

Farther east, an international team of chefs and aid workers in the town of Przemysl serve thousands of meals daily to refugees crossing Poland’s busiest border, Medyka, located near there.

“We make a lot of soup because it’s very cold and the refugees are coming, they can’t bring a big plate of food because they are,” said Clara, a volunteer chef with the NGO World Central Kitchen. carrying all my belongings.”

“We make hot chocolate, we also make a lot of baby food.”

Sympathy for their neighbors’ plight and poignant memories of Moscow’s domination have provided the foundation for volunteer efforts, but the sheer scale of the refugee crisis has undercut raised concerns of being overwhelmed.

Some countries far from the Ukrainian border, such as the Czech Republic, have also taken in tens of thousands of refugees, putting pressure on local authorities, while others, like Lithuania, have only just begun began to receive a significant number, with about 1,000 people currently arriving. Daily.

Kristina Meide, director of the Lithuanian Red Cross, said: “Most of these are women with small children, some just have a handbag for luggage.

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(Additional reporting by Miguel Pereira in Przemysl, Pawel Florkiewicz and Alicja Ptak in Warsaw, Andrius Sytas in Vilnius, Krisztina Than in Budapest, Robert Muller and Jan Lopatka in Prague, and Luiza Ilie in Bucharest; Writing by Niklas Pollard. by Niklas Pollard. and Janet Lawrence)

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