On 24 February 2022, the Russian Federation launched a full-scale invasion against Ukraine. The situation quickly deteriorated, with major attacks reported across the country, including in the capital, Kyiv. One year on, military operations persist, most acutely in eastern and southern Ukraine, and critical civilian infrastructure continues to be targeted across the country, impacting the safety and security of the population and availability of public services.
In early 2023, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) found that 40 per cent of the country’s total population needed humanitarian assistance, of which 56 per cent are women and girls, 23 per cent are children, and 15 per cent live with disabilities. As of January 2023, over 19 million remained affected by various forms of displacement, including 5.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) – 58 per cent of whom displaced for six months or more – and 5.5 million returnees – one fifth of whom returning from abroad (IOM Ukraine, General Population Survey Round 12, 23 January 2023). Over eight million Ukrainians have sought refuge across borders while 602,337 crossings of thirdcountry nationals (TCNs) were recorded from the Ukrainian border into neighbouring countries (UNHCR, 2023; IOM, 2023). The total number of refugees and TCN crossings has steadily risen over the course of the crisis.
The war has seriously affected people’s access to crucial services including water, electricity, heating, health care, education, and social protection, disproportionately impacting the lives of people who live in inaccessible and hard-to-reach areas. The war has also taken a toll on the most vulnerable, particularly those in the war stricken areas, displaced people, elderly people, women, and children, and those living in poverty. Attacks on energy supply systems have worsened living conditions in large parts of the country, especially during the cold winter months. The unpredictable situation including continued missile attacks across many areas of Ukraine and limited access to essential services, drives complex mobility dynamics and exposes people to heightened protection risks, negatively affecting their mental health and psychosocial well-being. Mass casualties, large-scale population displacement, destruction of critical infrastructure, and disruption of essential services may further contribute to increased social tensions, localized conflict, and instability in the future. Inflows of refugees and TCNs continue to be met with solidarity in Ukraine’s neighbouring countries and the wider region. With the full-scale war entering year two, 63 per cent of Ukrainian nationals report intending to stay in their host country in the near future (UNHCR, December 2022). Many neighbouring countries have seen large increases in population in urban areas – particularly of women and children – increasing pressure on essential services. Gaps remain to support refugees, TCNs, and countries to find mutual economic and social benefits from inclusion amid a context of continued uncertainty and depleting resources.
Source: International Organization for Migration