Some 4.5 million people returned home, but 3.7 million remain internally displaced inside Ukraine

More than 14 million Ukrainians left their homes since Russian invasion, UN says

Una oficial de policía ucraniana está abrumada por la emoción después de consolar a las personas evacuadas - AP/VADIM GHIRDA
A Ukrainian police officer is overcome with emotion after consoling evacuees - AP/VADIM GHIRDA

The UN said Thursday that more than 14 million people in Ukraine have fled their homes since the Russian invasion began two years ago, with nearly 6.5 million living outside the country as refugees.

The UN's International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said some 4.5 million people have returned home, but 3.7 million remain internally displaced within Ukraine.

In total, more than 14 million people, nearly a third of Ukraine's pre-war population, have been forced to leave their homes since the invasion began on 24 February 2022.

"The destruction is widespread. The loss of life and suffering continues," said the UN agency's director-general, Amy Pope, in a statement.

In parallel, UN human rights chief Volker Turk lambasted the "horrific human cost" caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Russia's large-scale armed assault on Ukraine, which is about to enter its third year with no end in sight, continues to cause widespread and gross human rights violations," he said in a statement.

La ONU trabaja para recuperar el petróleo sin provocar repercusiones medioambientales - PHOTO/FILE

The UN migration agency says it has supported 6.5 million people in Ukraine and 11 host countries in Eastern Europe.

"However, as the war enters a protracted phase, the needs continue to grow and outstrip available resources," the IOM added.

During the first two years of conflict, the organisation received $957 million in donations.

"We are counting on growing support from donors and local partners to respond to the challenges ahead in providing a better life for Ukrainians," Pope said.

The Russian invasion triggered the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

The UN estimates it needs $4.2 billion this year to provide the aid needed in Ukraine and among its refugees, but fears it will fall short of this target in the face of the Gaza war emergency that now commands global attention.

IOM noted that those who have returned home also face multiple challenges such as "insecurity, loss of livelihoods, damaged homes and infrastructure," said Soda Federico, director of the humanitarian response and recovery programme.

"We need to focus on economic recovery," he said.

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