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GENEVA, August 21 /ITAR-TASS/. The number of internally displaced persons in Ukraine as a result of the conflict in the country’s east has grown by several tens of thousands of people over the past few days and currently stands at some 190,000, Ariane Rummery, Senior Communications Officer at the United Nations refugee agency, said Wednesday.
Rummery told Itar-Tass that the figure may not fully reflect the real situation, adding it could be higher because there is no central registration system.
As of August 15, in line with statistics of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of internally displaced persons, that is people who left their homes but remained in the country, totaled 155,800 in Ukraine. On May 20, the UNHCR reported there were 10,000 such persons in Ukraine.
As regards the number of Ukrainians who fled to Russia, their number stands at some 197,400 people, out of which 78,000 officially requested the refugee status. It is nearly 30,000 more than two weeks ago.
Nonetheless, the real number of Ukrainian refuges in Russia is way bigger. The UNHCR reported citing the Russian authorities that 773,000 people have fled to Russia since April.
Besides, in Poland, the number of Ukrainian refugees has reached 14,600 and 13,800 in Belarus.
According to UN data, overall, at least 2,119 people have been killed and more than 5,000 wounded from mid-April to August 13 in fighting in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian army soldiers and local militiamen.
Kiev’s military operation designed to regain control over the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums and now call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics, kicked off in mid-April and has involved armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation.
Hundreds of civilians have lost their lives in the operation, many buildings have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee Ukraine’s war-torn southeast.