More than 8 million people displaced by Ukraine conflict, says UN

World

Startling new figures from the UN show the war in Ukraine has displaced more than eight million people.

And they reveal that more than six million refugee movements from Ukraine have been registered.

According to new data from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations and persecution worldwide has now crossed the milestone of 100 million for the first time on record, propelled by the conflict in Ukraine and other deadly wars.

“One hundred million is a stark figure – sobering and alarming in equal measure. It’s a record that should never have been set,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

He added: “The international response to people fleeing war in Ukraine has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Compassion is alive and we need a similar mobilisation for all crises around the world.

“But ultimately, humanitarian aid is a palliative, not a cure. To reverse this trend, the only answer is peace and stability so that innocent people are not forced to gamble between acute danger at home or precarious flight and exile.”

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The figures were revealed as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote an open letter to the children of Ukraine – many of them forced to flee their homes – praising them as role models for children and adults everywhere.

Boris Johnson's open letter to the children of Ukraine. Downing Street

In it he tells them “we in the UK will never forget you”.

On the battlefield, Russia continued to press its offensive in eastern Ukraine and started moving an armoured fighting vehicle nicknamed the “Terminator” around the Severodonetsk region in a bid to show their “determination” to capture the area.

BMPT-72 fire support combat vehicle, dubbed the "Terminator-2", is on display during the "Russia Arms Expo 2013", the 9th international exhibition of arms, military equipment and ammunition in the Urals city of Nizhny Tagil, September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin (RUSSIA - Tags: MILITARY)

Earlier in the day, Polish President Andrzej Duda became the first foreign leader to give a speech to the Ukrainian parliament in person since the Russian invasion.

He told the gathered politicians that “worrying voices” had appeared, saying Ukraine should give in to President Vladimir Putin’s demands.

But he stressed: “Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future… nothing about you without you.

“If Ukraine is sacrificed for… economic reasons or political ambitions – even a centimetre of its territory – it will be a huge blow not only for the Ukrainian nation, but for the entire Western world.”

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Ukraine is in the middle of the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since WWII. What is happening to the refugees after they leave?

Other key developments:
• Ukraine and Poland to establish a joint border customs control and work on a shared railway company to ease the movement of people and increase Ukraine’s export potential.
• Pussy Riot musician and activist Lucy Shtein tells Sky’s Sophy Ridge Russians are being “brainwashed”. She said: “Even if you call the war ‘a war’ you are in trouble”.
• Figures from Ukraine’s defence ministry – unverified by Sky News – claim almost 30.000 Russian personnel have been killed in the conflict, with 1,285 tanks and 204 aircraft destroyed.
• Russia’s Gazprom has halted gas exports to neighbouring Finland. It wants countries to pay for gas supplies in roubles because of sanctions imposed over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but Finland refuses to do so.

Ukraine was also the main subject on the lips of many of the delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

One, Ivana Kylmpush-Tsintsadze, a Ukrainian MP and former minister, told Sky News she believed Europe’s reliance on Russian oil and gas was funding the rape and murder of Ukrainian children.

She said Western states and companies needed to end “business as usual” with Moscow, and called for increased supplies of heavy weapons, a total gas and oil embargo, and tighter sanctions.

“If you are paying Russian companies for their oil and gas you are giving them resources to continue destroying our towns, our villages, killing our children, raping our women, elderly, babies, toddlers and destroying our country.”

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