Posted on February 25, 2022

War in Ukraine Risks Displacing 1 Million

Patrick Donahue and Dorota Bartyzel, Bloomberg, February 24, 2022

Europe is bracing for what could be an exodus of more than a million refugees after Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine, as officials say any initial strain will be borne by member states on the bloc’s eastern frontier.

The order of a full-scale invasion from President Vladimir Putin, triggering one of the worst security crises in Europe since World War II, has intensified preparations by eastern European Union states for an influx of refugees. Poland especially, already home to well more than a million Ukrainians, would be the first point of escape for many seeking to escape the violence.

Lines of cars already clogged highways leading out of the capital Kyiv, with the Ukrainian government saying Russian forces had entered the region around the city of 2.9 million. Polish authorities said they are beginning to see an increase in passenger traffic over the border.


But the prospect of a vast influx of migrants has forced Eastern European governments, some who have refused in recent years to accept migrants, to confront the possibility of hundreds of thousands of new arrivals. Authorities in the four EU member states bordering Ukraine — Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania — say they’re prepared for those fleeing.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a champion of anti-immigration policies who faces a tough re-election fight in less than six weeks, also said his country would accept refugees. In recent weeks he had issued grave warnings of an influx.


Lines of cars had already formed at Hungary’s border early Thursday, MTI state news service reported, citing witnesses. Hungary, which refused to admit mostly Middle Eastern migrants in Europe’s 2015-16 refugee crisis, could incur a scale of migration that outstrips the arrivals fleeing the Balkan wars in the 1990s, Orban warned before the invasion.


The EU expected as many as a million refugees, though any scenario is linked to the scope of a conflict, according to officials in Brussels. {snip}

Polish observers have speculated about far more than a million. Tomasz Hanczarek — head of Personnel Service, a company that recruits workers from abroad — put the overall number at as many as 3 million.