The Russian invasion of Ukraine has driven more than 2 million people out of the country, according to figures tracked by the United Nations refugee agency. The exodus is historic, U.N. officials said: The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine in less than two weeks is equal to the flow of mainly Syrian refugees into Europe in 2015 and 2016.
Among those who have fled Ukraine are 1 million children, according to James Elder, a spokesman for UNICEF.
Here’s what the scene looked like at one train station in Ukraine where women and children said goodbye to those staying behind, including the men fighting the invasion.
About a quarter of the 2 million refugees who have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion left in just two days this week.
The exodus could become as large as 4 million people by the end of the war, according to a United Nations estimate. That’s about 10 percent of Ukraine’s population.
Millions more are thought to be displaced within Ukraine, though the official tally is difficult to determine. Russia has targeted population centers in its attacks, likely in an effort to break Ukrainian morale, according to intelligence from Britain’s defense ministry.
At this train station in Odessa — in Ukraine’s southern edge, near the Black Sea — women and children rushed to board a train to Lviv, in the country’s west, near the border with Poland.
“We’ve never faced a refugee crisis of this speed and scale,” said Elder, the UNICEF spokesman.
Annabelle Timsit, Timothy Bella, Max Bearak, Zoeann Murphy and Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff contributed to this report.