December 20, 2014
Internally displaced number more than doubles in Ukraine
The number of internally displaced people in eastern Ukraine amid the fighting around Donetsk, Luhanks and neighbouring towns has more than doubled in the past month, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said.
The UN estimated that 260,000 people have been displaced within Ukraine, while in the first week of August the figure was significantly lower, 117,000.
However, the actual number is believed to be even higher, since many refugees often decide to stay with relatives and friends and do not register with the authorities, the UN explained.
"If this crisis is not quickly stopped, it will have not only devastating humanitarian consequences but it also has the potential to destabilize the whole region,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said.
Most of the displaced -94%- are from eastern Ukraine, and in 2014 over 121,000 Ukrainians have requested to be admitted as refugees in Russia, according to the UNHCR.