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22 Dec, 2022 16:58

Russia top destination for Ukrainian refugees – report

Over 2.85 million have fled to the country, with Poland a distant second as a sanctuary, estimates show
Russia top destination for Ukrainian refugees – report

Ukrainian refugees fleeing their homeland in 2022 have resettled in Russia more than any other country, according to a report by Statista published last week. It revealed some 2,852,395 people had left their conflict-stricken homeland for the neighboring country as of October.

Trailing Russia in a distant second is Poland, which hosted 1,529,355 Ukrainian refugees as of December. Another 1,021,667 have fled to Germany as of November, while Czechia is home to 467,862, according to numbers from earlier this month.

While Russia and Poland border Ukraine and thus present closer destinations for its inhabitants, Germany has attracted an outsized number of displaced people with its large financial support payments, which amounted to €449 ($475) per month as of June. Poland, by comparison, offered just over €15 ($16).

Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February, 4.8 million Ukrainians have registered for the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive, which assures refugees access to living quarters, healthcare, welfare and other benefits, or other European refugee schemes. 

More than 7.8 million Ukrainians have been displaced this year in the conflict, which grew out of the previous eight years of fighting between the Western-backed government in Kiev and what were then the independent republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Under near-constant shelling by the government despite a supposed ceasefire brokered by France and Germany, the eastern provinces reportedly produced another million-plus refugees during this period, many of whom fled to Russia or elsewhere in Ukraine. 

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. In September, Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, were incorporated into Russia following referendums.