By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 28 February 2022 • 15:05
United Nations Human Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet said today that millions of Ukrainians had been forced to take shelter from the Russian invasion forces and that at least half a million refugees had crossed the border into neighbouring EU countries.
Those numbers were echoed by EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson who said that the EU needed to prepare to welcome the millions of arrivals as the war is prolonged.
Speaking at the border crossing with Romania, she said that this is a humanitarian crisis in the making and that the numbers crossing the borders are starting to climb, she said that Romania alone had taken in over 70,000 since February 24.
She added that this is what we know, but the actual numbers are likely to be much higher.
Many European countries have lifted restrictions to enable Ukrainians to enter visa free and to seek refuge, however the UK has come under pressure for failing to do enough to welcome people fleeing the conflict.
Many are fleeing the country leaving loved ones behind to fight as well as those unable to travel, further adding to the misery of the situation.
Shelling has continued today with numerous citizens being killed in the indiscriminate Soviet bombing of towns and cities, the conflict raging as negotiators sit down to try and bring an end to the war.
Hopes for a breakthrough are slim, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said there was a “small chance to end the war”.
In the capital, Kyiv, the bulk of Russian forces are about 30km (19 miles) outside the north of the city, slowed by fierce Ukrainian resistance, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
Although fighting continues in the streets the government lifted a two-day curfew to allow residents to buy food and gather supplies.
Kasenya, who spent more than 36 hours underground, told the BBC she had managed to get home: “I can’t describe how I am feeling, I’m happy to stay alive and safe and just have the possibility to see my splendid and beautiful Kyiv.
“Even underground, everyone is trying to help one another and help our army to be stronger and to spread the world about our situation here.”
The conflict could see the half a million Ukrainian refugees rise to numbers above those that fled the recent Syrian civil war, placing strain on neighbouring countries many of which will struggle to cope without the support or the EU and other international bodies.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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