Update: the Ukrainian Humanitarian Situation

Amanda Luzzader

The conflict shows no signs of ending soon

In February 2022, under orders by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a detachment of the Russian military invaded Ukraine. These two former members of the Soviet Union had been experiencing troubled relations since 2014, and Russian forces annexed the Crimea in March 2016. Putin offered various justifications for invading Ukraine, including eradicating a fictive facist influence in the Ukrainian government. It’s now widely accepted that Putin’s acts of aggression were of a more basic nature, and it’s motivations were to: (1) redraw the boundaries of Russia to include Ukraine and restore the borders of the former Soviet Union, (2) appropriate Ukraine’s wealth and resources to bolster Russia’s stagnant economy, (3) inflict revenge for perceived geopolitical injustices, and (4) hamper the expansion of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a military alliance that the United States and many European countries are members of). The conflict has been referred to as “the largest humanitarian crisis Europe has seen in decades.”

The Ukrainian military has received many forms of support in the form of materiel, personnel, and funding, and they have exceeded international expectations in effectively defending many parts of Ukraine (significantly, the capital city of Kiev). Also, it is suspected (though difficult to verify) that the Russian military has suffered grave losses, perhaps as many as 50,000 troops killed. However, the conflict shows no signs of ending soon. 

How many Ukrainian civilians have been displaced?

Ukraine’s population is a little more than 43 million. According to a report by Foreign Policy News from early March 2022, the number of Ukrainian refugees was expected to rise to 10 million. According to a report from July 2022, the number of Ukrainian refugees is now 12 million—that is the number of civilians who have had to leave their homes because of fighting. This is the largest number of refugees fleeing a single country since World War II. 

How many Ukrainians have been killed and injured?

The Ukrainian military has suffered around 9,000 losses since the advent of the conflict, according to a late-August report by Reuters. As of mid-July, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recorded 11,544 civilian casualties; 5,024 killed and 6,520 injured. This includes roughly 350 children.

Where are the Ukrainian refugees going?

The BBC reports that, as of the beginning of July 2022, more than 5.2 million refugees from Ukraine are now living in Europe, and more than 3.5 million have applied for temporary residence in another country, such as the following:

-Russia: 1,412,425

-Poland: 1,194,642

-Moldova: 82,700

-Romania: 83,321

-Slovakia: 79,770

-Hungary: 25,800

-Belarus: 9,820

The rest are assumed to be sheltering somewhere in Ukraine or awaiting the opportunity to exit the country.

How many Ukrainian refugees have been accepted into the United States?

On April 21, 2022, President Joe Biden announced a program to expedite the acceptance of Ukrainian refugees to the United States. The program is called “Uniting for Ukraine,” and is described as a “new streamlined process to provide Ukrainian citizens who have fled Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression opportunities to come to the United States. This represents a key step toward fulfilling the President’s commitment to welcome Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” Uniting for Ukraine involves two major participants—(1) the Ukrainian individual seeking refuge in the United States and (2) a U.S.-based financial supporter. Both parties must apply to participate in the program, and both parties must pass a background check, medical screening, and financial screening.

By May 2022, more than 6,000 people had been approved to enter the United States through the Uniting for Ukraine program. As of late June 2022, about 71,000 Ukrainian refugees have been admitted through the Uniting for Ukraine program. 

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