In October 2022 the U.N. listed 7.6 million Ukrainian refugees across Europe, including 2.85 million in Russia—many of the latter were sent there by Russian occupiers and were subjected to a “filtration” process with credible reports of war crimes emerging, including evidence of executions and torture. Some 4.2 million Ukrainian refugees have registered for the EU’s temporary protection scheme or other national programs. A further 3.1 million had returned to Ukraine as of June 2022 when the U.N. also noted 6.9 million internally displaced peoples. In all, nearly one-third of Ukrainians have been displaced. A further 13 million are stranded within Ukraine due to fighting, impassable routes, or lack of resources to move.

Most refugees are now in wealthier EU countries after first crossing into neighboring Poland (5.4 million), Hungary (1.2 million), Romania (1 million), Slovakia (690,000), and Moldova (573,000).

Greatly facilitating this influx was the EU’s Temporary Protection regime for Ukrainians that ensures the right to work, health, education, shelter, and financial support for up to three years. Also helpful were the EU’s Ukrainian diaspora, including 1.4 million in Poland, 250,000 in Italy, and more elsewhere.

The magnitude and rapidity of the influx and the large numbers returning are unprecedented even if global experience shows that “refugees do not fully cease returning at any time”. The numerousness of returnees is due to a peaceful border area, the large number of separated families as men 18-60 years old are prohibited from leaving Ukraine, and trust in re-entering the EU. Ukrainian resistance and Russian withdrawals from around cities like Kyiv and elsewhere also mattered.

Read the full article about Ukrainian refugees by Omer Karasapan at Brookings.