Kelly Clements, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a conversation with CTV News that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked a refugee crisis in which hundreds of thousands of people are flooding. to surrounding countries.
“We have not seen displacement like this in Europe in decades,” she said on Wednesday.
She said they have been working with governments to allow those countries to assist the refugees, adding that while most of those fleeing Ukraine will go to Poland and Hungary, others will come. Smaller countries like Moldova may “need more support.”
“We will be working with them both in the short term on those requirements, but also in the long term,” she said.
She revealed earlier that about 875,000 people have crossed the border out of Ukraine so far, and they see about 200,000 people every day.
Those fleeing Ukraine for their safety are largely seeking temporary shelter while their homes are under attack, and many have left loved ones behind, she said. Men of military age have been banned by President Volodymyr Zelensky from leaving Ukraine, leaving most women and children as refugees.
“In refugee situations, in general people want to be close to their home, they want to be close to their homeland, and in this case and in Ukraine, it makes no difference,” Clements said. “Especially when we see families separated and men, brothers, fathers, grandfathers, nephews having to stay in Ukraine, their families will want to be close to them. And they’ll want to come back as soon as the fighting stops, as soon as it’s safe to do so.
“And of course we will do everything we can on the other side to get back to Ukraine when we can.”