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Displacement Figures in Ukraine

by Madeline Billet

After two months into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, upwards of 6.5 million people are considered to be internally displaced, with 4.8 million refugees fleeing the country entirely. The conflict has caused Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, and is one of the largest displacement crises of the 21st century.

Poland has received the highest number of Ukrainians seeking refuge, with nearly three million Ukrainians seeking asylum, more than all other European countries combined. Before the invasion even occurred, the Polish government issued an announcement for communities to prepare for up to a million Ukrainian refugees, per Polish media.

Other nations directly west of Ukraine (Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia) have received an uptick in asylum seekers as well.

"An estimated 53% of Ukrainian refugees are women, with 60% of displaced households also traveling with children"

Notably, the Russian Federation itself has received the largest amount of refugees, totaling almost half a million people. Ukrainians are tending to stay closer to home, for post-Soviet nations already have an existent diaspora. Further west, the European Union has invoked the Temporary Protection Doctrine, allowing refugees to reside, work, and study in any EU member state for up to a year.

Similar to the Temporary Protection Doctrine enacted by the EU, Ukrainians are largely benefitting from the Schengen Agreement, a treaty that largely abolished internal border checks within the 26 member states. Of the 27 European Union members, 22 participate in this treaty, making much of Europe widely accessible to those seeking asylum, according to UNHCR.

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Additional studies have concluded that upwards of 15% of current Ukrainian refugees had been displaced previously from 2014-2015. The demographics of refugees lean heavily towards the most vulnerable, with pregnant, breastfeeding, elderly, disabled, and chronically ill people encompassing much of the displaced population, according to the IOM.

An estimated 53% of Ukrainian refugees are women, with 60% of displaced households also traveling with children. The primary mode of transportation for Ukrainian refugees has been by train, with the CEO of Ukrainian Railways estimating upwards of 190,000 travelers a day.

Concerns about human trafficking have been raised during this refugee crisis, for language barriers and poor self documentation creates opportunities for criminals. There are growing reports of increased sex transactions, rapes, and kidnappings in places with high populations of refugees, per Reuters.

As a result, governments of nations accepting Ukrainians are deploying more law enforcement, as well as advising refugees to not seek help from foreign strangers directly.

Cover Photo by "Anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine (War Ukraine)" by Ministry of Defense of Ukraine is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view the terms, visit


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