Ukraine: Tens of thousands flee to Poland amid Russian attacks | Russia-Ukraine crisis News

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Nine reception centers have been set up along the border in Poland, which already has a community of 1.5 million Ukrainians.

Poland’s Deputy Interior Minister Pawel Szefernaker on Saturday said 115,000 people had crossed the border into Poland from Ukraine since Russia’s invasion started this week.

Just four hours earlier he had put the number at 100,000 arrivals, showing just how quickly the refugees are flowing into their EU neighbor.

“At this moment, there are 115,000 people who have crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border since the war erupted” on Thursday, Szefernaker told reporters in the border village of Dorohusk, eastern Poland.

The head of the Polish border guard, Tomasz Praga, said nearly 50,000 people had crossed into Poland from Ukraine on Friday alone.

Poland, which was already home to an estimated 1.5 million Ukrainians before Russia’s invasion and which has expressed steadfast support for Ukraine, has so far seen the bulk of those fleeing Ukraine cross into its territory.

“More than 150,000 Ukrainian refugees have now crossed into neighboring countries, half of them to Poland, and many to Hungary, Moldova, Romania and beyond,” UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi tweeted on Saturday.

“Displacement in Ukraine is also growing but the military situation makes it difficult to estimate numbers and provide aid,” he added.

Szefernaker said 90 percent of the refugees entering Poland have places to go, such as the homes of friends or family, but the remainder are seeking help at nine reception centers set up along the border.

INTERACTIVE- Where are Ukrainians fleeing to - refugees

The centers offer meals and medical care, a place to rest as well as any necessary information.

Al Jazeera’s Zein Basravi said the mid-sized Polish town of Przemysl has become a major hub of activity as Ukrainian refugees continue to stream across the border.

“All border crossings are open to foot traffic,” he said, reporting from the town in eastern Poland. “The government here knows there are people stuck at the border on the Ukrainian side, [and that] processing times are taking a long time. People are having to abandon cars, rail lines are overwhelmed, so a lot of people are ditching everything and walking. ”

The head of the Polish border guard, Tomasz Praga, added at the press conference that on Friday alone nearly 50,000 people had crossed into Poland from Ukraine.

Szefernaker said his country can process up to 50,000 refugees from Ukraine at the border every day.

Poland, which was already home to an estimated 1.5 million Ukrainians before Russia’s invasion and which has expressed steadfast support for Ukraine, has so far seen the bulk of those fleeing Ukraine cross into its territory.

“Latest update is that almost 116,000 have fled to neighboring countries since February 24 – mainly Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania,” the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR tweeted on Saturday.

“Numbers are rising,” it added.

The UN said the number of people seeking refuge outside of Ukraine to other countries could rise to five million.



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