Shabia Mantoo, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said in Geneva Tuesday that “at this rate, the situation looks set to become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century.”
Of the hundreds of refugees gathered on the grounds of a small village school in eastern Hungary, almost all are women and children who left their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons behind to fight in Ukraine’s resistance to the deadly Russian invasion, AP reports.
“I have brothers, they are fighting now,” said Olga Skliarova, a 34-year-old resident of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. “Men are not allowed to cross the border, so they helped us to get to the border and went back to Kyiv to fight.”
The exodus of refugees from the war in Ukraine is rapidly growing in the eastern countries of the European Union, with more than 675,000 people fleeing to neighboring countries since the Russian invasion began — a number that will only grow, according to the U.N. refugee agency.
An order from Ukraine’s government prohibiting men aged 18- to 60-years-old from leaving the country — so as to keep them available for military conscription — means that many women and children must seek safety on their own.
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