More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, making it the fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II, The Washington Post reports.
The United Nations said that 2 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed the border to Poland or other European allies. The number is effectively equal to the total number of refugees that fled Syria to Europe between 2015 and 2016.
About 500,000 refugees have fled since Sunday even as Ukraine accused Russia of bombing evacuation routes.
Half of the 2 million refugees are children, according to UNICEF. Men between 18 and 60 are barred from leaving the country.
The UN estimates as many as 4 million people may leave Ukraine amid the crisis.
Russia bombs civilian evac routes:
Ukraine said Russia on Tuesday bombed civilian humanitarian corridors for the fourth straight day, which Russia denies.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russian troops “war criminals.”
The Ukrainian foreign ministry said that Russia violated a ceasefire and bombed an evacuation route out of Mariupol in southern Ukraine on Tuesday.
“Ceasefire violated!” the foreign ministry tweeted. “Pressure on Russia MUST step up to make it uphold its commitments.”
Russia proposed evacuation routes that led into Russia or Belarus, which Ukrainians rejected. Russia has not yet agreed to allow for routes to European allies. Ukraine said the only approved routes are to reach other regions inside the country.
Mariupol and other cities have had water and electricity cut off for days.
Sanctions ramp up:
President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced that the US would ban Russian oil and energy imports even as gas prices hit record highs.
The United Kingdom also said it would ban Russian oil imports but not Russian natural gas.
Europe relies heavily on Russian energy and many countries have been reluctant to join the energy embargo over concerns that it would cause energy prices to skyrocket and trigger a recession.
Instead, Russia has threatened to cut off gas supplies to Germany in retaliation for earlier sanctions.