GENEVA, Switzerland — The U.N. refugee agency said Wednesday more than 4 million refugees have now fled Ukraine since Russia launched its war in the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
The new figure was posted on an UNHCR website. More than 2.3 million have arrived in Poland, but many have traveled onward to other countries or back into Ukraine.
Aid workers say the numbers have eased in recent days as many people await developments in the war. An estimated 6.5 million people have also been displaced from their homes within the country.
More than 608,000 have entered Romania, over 387,000 have gone to Moldova, and about 364,000 have entered Hungary since the war began on Feb. 24, based on counts provided by governments.
From the onset of the war, UNHCR had projected that about 4 million people might flee Ukraine —though it has repeatedly said that it has been reassessing its forecasts.
“Refugees from Ukraine are now 4 million, five weeks after the start of the Russian attack,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi tweeted as he crossed the border into Ukraine.
Grandi said he would be in the western city of Lviv and discuss ways to increase its support “to people affected and displaced by this senseless war.”
UNHCR teams and their partners have been working to deliver protection, emergency shelter, cash assistance, core relief items and other critical services for those who have fled.
Meanwhile, the U.N.’s top human rights body has chosen a Norwegian former judge at the European Court of Human Rights to head a three-member panel to investigate possible abuses and violations in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.
Erik Møse, formerly president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, will be joined by Jasminka Dzumhur, the human rights ombudsperson in Bosnia, and Pablo de Greiff of Colombia, a political theorist who has specialized in justice issues, on the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine.
The U.N.-backed Human Rights Council created the commission earlier this month.
The three panel members will lead a team that has a one-year mandate to “to establish the facts, circumstances and root causes" of any human rights violations and abuses in Ukraine that could eventually contribute to international justice over the war.