The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has estimated more than 117,000 people have been displaced inside Ukraine as a result of the conflict near the country's border with Russia.
In the past seven days, the report states, more than 6,200 people were forced to abandon their homes as they fled deeper into Ukraine. As of August 1, about 168,000 people have also crossed into Russia so far this year.
Here are the key statistics from the report:
- The refugees come mostly from the rebel-invaded regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which is also facing a water shortage. The number of people leaving these regions rose to 102,600 in early August, compared to just 2,600 in June.
- People from eastern Ukraine make up 87 percent of the total displaced population in the country. The annexing of Crimea resulted in about 15,200 people displaced.
- Russian authorities reported around 730,000 Ukrainians staying in Russia under the visa-free regime. Vincent Cochetel, head of the UNHCR's European Bureau, says the agency believes "that number is credible."
"Those people are leaving with very little," Cochetel added. "Some of them arrive with almost no belongings or got some of their belongings confiscated at checkpoints."
The increase in refugees doesn't just mean more pressure on Ukraine to provide shelter for those displaced. Cochetel said the move could mean disaster for denser areas within the nation. "Fighting in highly densified urban areas could lead to a massive exodus and massive destruction," he warned.
According to the U.N., those who fled gave the following primary reasons for leaving:
- Security concerns, including the risk of being caught in crossfire
- Fears of persecution for political views or ethnicity
- Fears of forcible recruitment by government or anti-government forces
- Fears of abduction, extortion, and harassment
- Damage to homes, lack of services, and damage to basic infrastructure
Before the crisis in Ukraine began, Donetsk and Luhansk counted 6.5 million residents—about 14 percent of Ukraine's overall population.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.