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Ukraine war news from March 1: Russia steps up attacks, missile strike hits Holocaust memorial, UK says heavy armour drawing closer to Kyiv


Russia’s attack on Ukraine looks set to create “Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century” as more than 660,000 have fled the fighting over the past six days.

Mostly women and children with “very few belongings” have left their homes in Ukraine to head towards neighbouring countries since Russia invaded on Thursday, the UN refugee agency has said.

People have reportedly been waiting for up to 60 hours to enter Poland while queues at the Romanian border are up to 20km long, said Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in a briefing in Geneva.

“Many who left with only the clothes on their back and very few belongings will need international support,” the UNHCR said on Tuesday.

Neighbouring countries, and particularly local communities, are doing “everything” to welcome and support these refugees “but they will need sustained and strong support in the weeks to come”, the agency said.

“UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies will only be able to support Ukrainians displaced inside and outside Ukraine if we can be guaranteed safety and access and have the resources and support to do our work,” it added.

Filippo Grandi, UNHCR commissioner, said on Monday that the number of refugees “has been rising exponentially”. He noted that in his 40 years working in refugee crises he “has rarely seen such an incredibly fast rising exodus of people”.

Poland reported a total of 350,000 refugees have crossed the border since Thursday, with 100,000 crossing over the past 24 hours, interior minister Maciej Wasik told public broadcaster Polskie Radio 1.

More than 7,000 Ukrainians have entered Bulgaria since Russia invaded six days ago, according to Lora Lyubenova, a spokesperson for the general directorate of border police.

Germany said on Monday that 1,800 refugees from Ukraine had arrived over the past few days while refugees had started arriving in Italy and Greece.

Janez Lenarcic, commissioner for crisis management at the EU directorate-general for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, said the war risked displacing “millions of Ukrainians”.

“I urge the entire international donor community to also generously respond,” he added.



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