Ukraine crisis: Which countries have taken the most refugees as 1 million flee Russian invasion

<p>A mother and child near the Polish-Ukrainian border in Hrebenne, Poland</p>

A mother and child near the Polish-Ukrainian border in Hrebenne, Poland

More than a million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion last week, according to the UN.

The European Union – which has promised to welcome refugees with “open arms” – estimates up to four million people may try to leave the country.

Many are women and children – men have been told to stay and fight.

On Ukraine’s borders, families who have been torn apart tell harrowing stories about their escape, and the destruction they have left behind.

It is believed more than two per cent of Ukraine’s population of 44 million has been on the move in the seven days since Russia began its attack.

So far, just over half of the county’s refugees have arrived in neighbouring Poland, according to the latest UNHCR figures.

A woman walks with a child wrapped in a blanket as she waits at a refugee crossing in Medyka, Poland

Hungary has taken in 133,009 people and 97,827 have arrived in Moldova.

The UNHCR says 72,200 refugees have fled to Slovakia, 51,261 to Romania, 47,800 to Russia, and 88,147 to other European countries.

“Rarely have I seen an exodus as rapid as this,” UN high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi said.

“Hour by hour, minute by minute, more people are fleeing the terrifying reality of violence.”

A student covers herself in blanket at the Medyka border crossing, Poland

He called for the “guns to fall silent” so humanitarian aid can reach those still inside Ukraine.

The UN has appealed for £1.2bn to deliver aid and tackle what Mr Grandi said “could become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century.”

In Poland, people have been crossing the border on foot amid huge queues of cars. With crowds and long delays, some have turned back in the snow.

A family sleeps at a train station in the Hungarian border town of Zahony after arriving from Ukraine by train

Others have been told they cannot cross. People from Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia have faced discrimination at the border.

The Independent’s Bel Trew spoke to a group of Nigerian university students who said they were unable to catch a bus to the border after “all Africans” were asked to get off.

They had travelled more than 600 miles, fleeing shelling in the eastern city of Kharkiv.

“If you are not Ukrainian it is even harder to get out,” said Ben, a 27-year-old petroleum engineering student.

People fleeing war-torn Ukraine at the Medyka pedestrian border in eastern Poland

As Russian troops bombard major cities, there are fears the conflict is becoming ever more dangerous for civilians.

Ukraine’s capital Kyiv is bracing for a siege, and the country’s second-largest city Kharkiv has been reeling from further strikes.

The Russian military has now taken control of the southern city of Kherson, and troops are continuing to assault the southeastern port of Mariupol.

Children play in a shelter for women and children fleeing Ukraine at a train station in Przemysl, Poland

“They are breaking food supplies, setting us up in a blockade,” the city council said in a statement. “We have no light, water or heat.”

More than 2,000 civilians have died since the invasion, Ukraine’s state emergency service said.

Ukranian refugees just arrive in Nyugati Railway Station, Budapest

According to Amnesty International, Russia has violated international humanitarian law and may have committed war crimes.

Amnesty’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard said: “The Russian military has shown a blatant disregard for civilian lives by using ballistic missiles and other explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas.

“Some of these attacks may be war crimes. The Russian government, which falsely claims to use only precision-guided weapons, should take responsibility for these acts.”

The International Criminal Court has begun collecting evidence of possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Russia routinely denies it carries out illegal attacks.

Refugee arrivals from Ukraine (UNHCR figures)

Poland

547,982 (52.8%)

Hungary

133,009 (12.8%)

Moldova

97,827 (9.4%)

Other European countries

88,147 (8.5%)

Slovakia

72,200 (7%)

Romania

51,261 (4.9%)

Russia

47,800 (4.6%)

Belarus

357

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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