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U.N. releases detailed data on Ukraine refugee movements; nearly 5M have fled war

U.N. releases detailed data on Ukraine refugee movements; nearly 5M have fled war
A Ukrainian mother with her daughter read a book at a refugee camp set up at the Patria-Lukoil center in Chisinau, Moldova, on Thursday. Photo by Dumitru Doru/EPA-EFE

June 12 (UPI) -- Nearly 5 million refugees have fled Ukraine and more than 4,000 civilians have been killed as of Sunday, according to United Nations officials.

Data from the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees shows that 4,904,207 individual refugees have left Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, more than 10% of the population of about 44.13 million.

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The agency had previously recorded in mid-April that 4,869,019 refugees had fled Ukraine but has since gained a much more accurate picture of the number of individual refugees that left the country, rather than estimates based on border movements.

The UNHCR has recorded more than 7.2 million refugee movements out of Ukraine, the agency said in a flash update Friday.

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"Inside Ukraine, many people who are trapped are unable to meet their basic needs including for food, water and medicines," the flash update reads.

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"The delivery of life-saving aid remains challenging, with a lack of safe humanitarian access in areas where intense hostilities are ongoing."

More than 3.2 million of the refugees have registered for temporary protections in Europe, according to the UNHCR. The agency has also recorded more than 2.3 million border-crossing movements back to Ukraine but noted that figure does not represent individual people or sustained returns.

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The United Nations has recently started publishing a more detailed account of recorded data including where refugees have landed throughout Europe after leaving Ukraine for neighboring countries.

The vast majority of refugees, more than 1.15 million, have fled for Poland, which is a member of the European Union's Schengen Area allowing people to move freely between countries.

It had previously been reported that more than 3.5 million refugees had fled to Poland but the U.N. has since apparently accounted for movement within the Schengen Area and to other countries.

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The UNHCR has also recorded more than 1.13 million refugees fleeing to Russia, though the meaning behind that data point and if those individuals voluntarily fled to Russia was not immediately clear. Russia has been forcibly issuing passports in the areas of Ukraine it has seized.

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Tens of thousands of refugees have also landed in the neighboring countries of Romania, Moldova, Slovakia and Hungary while hundreds of thousands more have carried on to other European nations.

The data now shows that more than 780,000 refugees have carried on to Germany and more than 565,000 of them have registered for protections in the country.

Another 366,632 have fled to the Czech Republic with all but 150 of them registering for protection in that country, the data shows.

Turkey, Italy and Spain have also received hundreds of thousands of refugees each while tens of thousands of refugees have been recorded in each of nearly every other country in Europe. Hundreds of refugees have even landed in smaller, less populous nations like Iceland and Malta.

Data from the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights released Friday shows that at least 4,339 civilians have been confirmed to have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the war, including 274 children.

Russian troops have destroyed two of the three bridges into Sievierodonetsk in a final push to take control of the key city in eastern Ukraine, officials said Sunday.

Sievierodonetsk is the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the Luhansk oblast of Ukraine, which experts have said Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to annex into Russia in coming months.

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Meanwhile, more than a dozen locations of former McDonald's restaurants sold after the American company pulled out of Russia have opened as the rebranded Vkusno & Tochka in Moscow and the surrounding region.

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