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Ukrainians flee to Kharkiv but then where to? - UN report

17.05.2024 17:00
The United Nations has updated its report on the situation in the Kharkivska Oblast where civilians close to the fighting are fleeing to Kharkiv - but the city itself is also being bombed by Russia. 
The UN flag.
The UN flag. Photo: Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs/gov.pl

Humanitarian situation in the region around Kharkiv

According to a UN update, thousands of civilians from the Kharkivska Oblast have fled their homes, mainly heading for the region's capital Kharkiv.

In the last week, local authorities have estimated, around 10 000 people have been evacuate from the areas of most intense fighting: Bohoduhivskyi, Chuhuivskyi and Kharkivskyi. 

Many humanitarian organisations have joined local Ukrainian authorities to maintain a humanitarian transit centre in Kharkiv. However, Russian shelling of the city itself makes the humanitarian operations themselves dangerous. 

On 16 May, fighting in the northern part of the region not only led to more civilian deaths and injuries but damaged civilian infrastructure. The report states that: 

The most urgent needs of those who have evacuated included housing, hygiene supplies, medicines, psychological support, legal assistance, as well as clothes, household and other essential supplies, as many were not able to take their belongings with them during urgent evacuation or had lost them due to the attacks.

In the last week alone approximately 6,700 people have been registered by aid organizations in the Kharkiv City transit centre, including nearly 3,000 people whose escape has been coordinated by humanitarian orgnanisations.

Some 660 people were provided accommodation in collective centres from 10-16 May, with most able to make

Putin's response

Putin has emphatically denied he has any intentions to invade Kharkiv. Commentators, however, frequently take his assurances as a sign of a likely immanent invasion:

Sources: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, X