GENEVA: Several thousand Ukrainians have crossed into neighbouring countries, mainly Moldova and Romania, while an estimated 100,000 have fled their homes and are uprooted in the country after Russia’s invasion, the UN refugee agency said on Thursday.
Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said the figures were compiled from reports from national authorities and its staff and partner agencies. “It’s a ballpark figure,” she told Reuters.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday has authorised troops to launch a military operation in Ukraine, claiming it’s intended to protect civilians.
In a televised address, Vladimir Putin said the action comes in response to threats coming from Ukraine. He added that Russia doesn’t have a goal to occupy Ukraine. Putin said the responsibility for the bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime.”
Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”
Meanwhile, an emergency session of UN Security Council on the Ukraine crisis. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to Vladimir Putin to give peace a chance and halt military operation.
Ukraine’s top security official Oleksiy Danilov said on Wednesday that Ukraine would impose a state of emergency on all of its territory, apart from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions where it has been in place since 2014.
He said that the emergency state would last 30 days and could be extended for another 30 days.
Pro-Russian separatists have controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk since 2014. Russia recognised them as independent states and approved use of its troops abroad this week.