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Ukraine: Raab defends UK's policy on welcoming refugees
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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, more than a week ago, sparked one of the largest humanitarian crises in recent memory. The conflict has forced refugees – mostly women and children – to leave their homes behind in the hope of finding a safe sanctuary.
How many refugees are there?
According to figures from the United Nations (UN) more than one million people have now fled the war in Ukraine – including Ukrainian nationals and residents from other countries caught up in the conflict.
Barely two days ago the number stood at just shy of 700,000.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has predicted that as many as four million people could flee the country in the coming weeks.
Where have refugees fled to?
Poland has so far taken in the largest amount of refugees from Ukraine. The UN has estimated this number to be 547,982 – correct as of March 2.
The Polish Government has said a further 50,000 are arriving every day.
Poland is also preparing a medical train to transport wounded Ukrainians, and has drawn up a list of 1,230 hospitals to send them to.
Other countries where refugees have fled to include:
- Hungary – 133,009
- Moldova – 97,827
- Slovakia – 72,200
- Romania – 51,261
- Russia – 47,800
- Belarus – 357
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Meanwhile, some 88,147 refugees have moved on from these countries to others in Europe.
Currently, anyone fleeing the war is being advised they do not need documents to get into neighbouring countries.
However, they should preferably have their internal or foreign travel passports, birth certificates of children travelling with them and medical documentation.
Qualification for refugee status stipulates you need to be a Ukrainian citizen or someone legally living in Ukraine, such as foreign students.
What has the UK said it will do?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier this week the UK could take in 200,000 or more Ukrainian refugees after the Government extended its help to people fleeing the war.
The scheme allowing close relatives of Ukrainian people settled in the UK to come over will be widened to include adult parents, grandparents, children over 18 and siblings.
Ukrainians will also be able to be sponsored by a UK firm to gain entry.
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