Number of refugees fleeing Ukraine war exceeds 6 million -UN agency

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Ukrainian refugees walk towards border crossing from Poland to Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Medyka, Poland, April 6, 2022. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

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WARSAW, May 12 (Reuters) - The number of people who have fled Ukraine to escape Russia's invasion has passed 6 million, in Europe's worst refugee crisis since the end of World War Two, a U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday.

Russia's invasion, which started on Feb. 24, has triggered a massive displacement of people, including more than 8 million Ukrainians within the country, according to the latest International Organization for Migration (IOM)report.

U.N. data showed that 6.03 million had fled Ukraine as of Wednesday.

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Russia launched what it calls a "special military operation," saying its aim was to demilitarise and "denazify" its southern neighbour. Kyiv and its Western allies reject that as a false pretext for an unprovoked land grab.

Most refugees have crossed to the European Union through border points in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, where volunteers and governments have scrambled to help them find accommodation and provide support.

Over 3.3 million people, mostly women and children, have crossed the border to Poland. The Polish government estimates that around half could stay in the country longer term, which brings challenges to the housing market, schools and healthcare systems.

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Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk in Warsaw; Editing by Toby Chopra and Mark Porter

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