Ukraine: Another 35,000 flee in 24 hours bringing total to nearly 4.3 million refugees

Ukraine: Another 35,000 flee in 24 hours bringing total to nearly 4.3 million refugees
Tens of thousands of Ukrainians are continuing to flee their homeland following Russia's invasion.
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In total, more than a quarter of Ukraine's population has been forced to flee their home [source: Getty]

Nearly 35,000 more Ukrainians fled west in 24 hours to escape Russia's invasion of their country, the United Nations said Wednesday.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 4,278,789 Ukrainians had fled across the borders since the war began on February 24 - a figure up 34,194 since Tuesday.

The UN's International Organization for Migration estimates that 7.1 million internally displaced people had fled their homes but were still in Ukraine.

The IOM says that in addition to Ukrainian refugees, more than 206,000 non-Ukrainians living, studying or working in the country have also left.

This means that in total, more than a quarter of the population have been forced to flee their homes.

Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine had a population of 37 million in the regions under government control, excluding Russia-annexed Crimea and the pro-Russian separatist regions in the east.

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Women and children account for 90 percent of those who have left Ukraine, with men aged 18 to 60 eligible for military call-up and unable to leave.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN in New York, told the UN Security Council: "Ukraine's neighbours are bearing the brunt of Europe's most significant refugee crisis since World War II."

Nearly six out of 10 Ukrainian refugees - 2,490,447 so far - have crossed into Poland, according to the UN. Polish border guards said the number had reached 2.5 million on Tuesday.

A total of 654,825 Ukrainians entered the EU member state Romania, including a large number who crossed over from Moldova

The Moldovan border is the closest to the major port city of Odessa. Some 399,039 Ukrainians have crossed into the non-EU state, one of the poorest in Europe.