Population movement from eastern Ukraine

In addition to those directly affected by the fighting, hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

Many of those who have left their homes have sought refuge in other parts of Ukraine, and are categorized as 'internally displaced people' (IDPs). More than half however, have fled from eastern Ukraine to neighbouring countries, including:

  Ukraine:   190,087   (130,414 since 1 July 2014)
  Russian Federation:   207,343   (87,927 have applied for asylum)
  Other countries:   37,176   (4,332 have applied for asylum)




The estimated number of internally displaced people from eastern Ukraine is 174,380, with the remainder displaced from Crimea.

In Ukraine, estimates indicate that there are some 500 collective centres through the country hosting some 24,000 internally displaced people (IDPs). An estimated 60 per cent of these centres are thought to be unsuitable for winter accommodation. The remainder of the displaced people in Ukraine are hosted with families, etc.

In the Russian Federation, displaced Ukrainian citizens are spread across more than 30 regions of the country. Most of the displaced people are staying with host families or with their relatives. Around 25,000 displaced people are accommodated in the 260 temporary shelters spread across the country.

The largest concentration of displaced people, numbering around 20,000, are in the Rostov region, which borders Ukraine. The 44 temporary shelters this region host approximately 3,500 displaced people.

Russian authorities also report that 740,000 people have crossed the border from Ukraine into Russia since the beginning of 2014, availing of the special 270-day visa programme available to Ukrainian citizens.

National Society action

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Internally displaced in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Red Cross Society has been providing assistance to individuals and families who are internally displaced throughout the country. Food, blankets, and advice on how to access further support from the authorities are some of the ways that the Red Cross has been helping.

  • The worsening situation has required the mobilization of all the resources of the National Society: emergency response teams, trained volunteers, and use of all available warehouse stocks of emergency supplies.
  • Emergency response personnel/volunteers from the Kyiv City branch were mobilized, as were the teams/personnel in the oblast committees. These teams monitor the situation, administer first aid and psychosocial support, and help transfer injured people to ambulances.
  • Ukrainian Red Cross Society emergency teams working in eastern regions, especially those other parts of Ukraine, can have difficulty in getting safe access to some areas so they are coordinating very closely with the ICRC.
  • Ukrainian Red Cross Society is also strengthening its capacity to provide psychosocial support. This initiative is a follow-up to previous ICRC-supported efforts, now supported jointly by the IFRC and Danish Red Cross.
  • Tents have been prepositioned by the society at key locations throughout the country to enable the society to provide shelter to incoming IDPs, as well as to serve as operation centres if required.
  • Ukrainian Red Cross Society provides a variety of assistance measures for IDPs including provision of food, clothes and shoes, hygiene products, detergents, medicine, bed linen, cooking utensils, monetary aid, as well as consultations.
  • The National Society has assisted more than 24,300 displaced people across all Oblasts (administrative units) of the country, as well as in Kyiv city, since the beginning April. Some of the main areas where assistance is being provided include:
    • Donetsk region:
      1,256 IDPs have received support (clothes, hygiene products, food parcels, bed linen, medicine, and monetary aid)
    • Kharkiv region:
      5,434 IDPs have received support (clothes, food, detergents)
    • Odessa region:
      2,199 IDPs have received support (clothes, food, hygiene products)
    • Zaporiz’ka region:
      1,275 IDPs have received support (food, bed linen, clothing, hygiene products)
    • Kyiv City:
      4,899 IDPs have received support (food, medicine, clothes, hygiene products and consultations)
  • In Lugansk, Ukrainian Red Cross Society has provided for the purchase of medicines for hospitals thanks to the assistance of a corporate donor.
  • The National Society has distributed non-food items, including hygiene supplies, bandages and medical supplies, bedding, blankets procured with assistance from both IFRC and ICRC in eastern Ukraine, as well as partnering with UNICEF and UNHCR to enable these UN agencies to distribute relief supplies through the society’s network of branches.
Refugees in Russia

During the first week of June 2014, a special task force was established by Russian Red Cross Society in Moscow to coordinate response to crisis:

  • In total 30 regional branches of the society throughout the country are currently providing direct assistance to displaced people including relief assistance, psychosocial support, restoring family links etc. Through these regional branches of the Russian Red Cross Society, over 11,000 people have received direct assistance in recent weeks.
  • In Rostov, which shares an extended border with Ukraine, the regional branch of the society has raised about 65 million Russian roubles (around 1.6 million Swiss francs).
  • These funds are being used to meet urgent needs including the provision of food, non-food and hygiene items of the most vulnerable categories of displaced people who are accommodated in temporary shelters in the region, in particular disabled persons and multi-children families. The branch is also currently distributing 120 tons of food to those accommodated by host families. These efforts are also supported by the ICRC.

Funds raised at national level by the Russian Red Cross Society headquarters, have been channelled to more than 15 regional branches to support the displaced people from Ukraine who have been hosted in other regions.

Displaced people in other countries

Over 4,300 Ukrainians have applied for asylum in further countries including Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Republic of Moldova, and Romania.

Between June and July of this year, an estimated 12,000 Ukrainians arrived in Belarus. Although only 300 have applied for refugee status, many have fled the fighting in the east, choosing to remain as temporary migrants rather than seeking refugee status, in the hope that they will soon be able to return to their homes. In the meantime, many struggle to survive.

With winter fast approaching, concern continues to grow of how these people will manage in the harsh weather conditions. Although many displaced people are staying with host families, a significant number are in temporary accommodation provided by the respective governments of the territories that they have fled to. Not all of these buildings are suitable for cold weather.