Brendan Lawson Loughborough University

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Joël Glasman University of Bayreuth

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Irina Mützelburg Centre for East European and International Studies, Berlin (ZOiS)

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Humanitarian Numbers in the Russian–Ukrainian War
An Interview with Irina Mützelburg (October 2022)

In this interview, Irina Mützelburg discusses the production and spreading of humanitarian numbers in the on-going Russian–Ukrainian war since February 2022. She traces the emergence of the announced number of Ukrainian refugees several months before the beginning of the full-scale invasion and analyses the ways in which the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) compile statistics respectively on Ukrainian refugees abroad and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Numbers are produced to be coherent and higher, to illustrate the need for attention and funding. Furthermore, the debated issue of Ukrainians who (were) moved to Russia since the invasion is reviewed, discussing not only the numbers, but also the ways the Ukrainian and the Russian states frame the ways and reasons for which Ukrainians came to Russia. Finally, the interview covers the term ‘evacuee’ and ‘evacuation’ that both Russian and Ukrainian politicians and media use in unusual ways and which have been taken up by international media outlets.

Irina Mützelburg is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for East European and International Studies in Berlin and a co-coordinator of the German-French ANR-DFG project, Limspaces, researching everyday life in Moldova and Ukraine. Currently she studies the educational situation of displaced pupils from Ukraine in Germany. She holds a PhD from Sciences Po Paris and has published on Ukraine, migration policies, norm transfer and public policy analysis in the Journal of Intercultural Studies, European Journal of Migration, Revue française de science politique, Revue d’études comparatives Est-Ouest, Revue Gouvernance and Trajectoires. Her book Transferring Asylum Norms to EU Neighbours: Multi-Scalar Policies and Practices in Ukraine has been published with Palgrave Macmillan (London) in 2022.

Joël Glasman (JG) and Brendan Lawson (BL): In the very first days following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Army, on 24 February, several media said that the UN was expecting ‘4 to 5’ million Ukrainians to flee their country. Where did this figure come from? Did it turn out to be an accurate prediction?

Irina Mützelburg (IM): Actually, this number was already mentioned before the full-scale Russian invasion. On 3 December 2021, the new Ukrainian Minister of Defence, Oleksii Reznikov, had declared that a ‘major war in Ukraine’ would lead to three to five million Ukrainian refugees (Reznikov, 2021). This prediction was part of Reznikov’s warning that a war in Ukraine ‘would plunge the whole of Europe into crisis’ and his attempt to raise support among European political leaders in the face of the Russian threats. Without referring to Reznikov’s prediction, the Biden administration announced at the beginning of February 2022 that a Russian invasion would lead to 5 million refugees ‘according to updated U.S. military and intelligence assessments’ (Washington Post, 2022a).

From 25 February 2022 onwards, the day after the beginning of the Russian invasion, United Nations (UN) agencies began predicting 4 to 5 million refugees. The spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Shabia Mantoo, told the newspaper Geneva Solutions in an interview, ‘We are already seeing these movements [Ukrainians fleeing] happening – they are sporadic and unpredictable, but we do know that there are significant numbers moving. If the situation escalates, further, there could be many more who have to flee the country to neighbouring countries and that can be up to four million, for instance’ (Geneva Solutions, 2022). At a UN briefing in Geneva on the same day, Afshan Khan, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, similarly predicted a ‘scenario of 1 to 5 mln including all surrounding countries’ (Reuters, 2022). The next day, on 26 February, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published its first situation report stating that ‘Ukrainian authorities estimate that as many as 5 million people could flee the country’ (UNHCR, 2022a:1). On 1 March 2022, UNHCR forecast in a press release that ‘more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees may need protection and assistance in neighbouring countries in the coming months’ (UNHCR, 2022b). However, in none of these publications could I find an indication of the methodology, sources or reasoning behind this estimation.

Despite the extremely fuzzy origins of this number of 4 or 5 million refugees, various international media outlets took it up immediately (Business Standard India, 2022; RFERL, 2022; Al Jazeera, 2022). They attributed the figure to UNHCR, which seemed to be enough to make it sound legitimate. Especially in the first weeks of the war, the media referred a lot to refugee numbers – any numbers that some legitimate organisation would give them. This could be collected data, such as on border crossings, but also estimations of how many Ukrainians might have reached different countries, as well as the above-described initial guesses about future refugee numbers.

Since the interwar period of the twentieth century, statistics on refugees have been produced and used to control migration and population. Statistics have been supposed to help re-establish order when facing refugees perceived as an ‘odd pathology’ in the order of nation states (Schult, 2022: 7). Even though European states received displaced Ukrainians in an unusually welcoming way by comparison to other groups of refugees in the last few decades, the wish to control migration was reflected in a wish for data on the numbers of Ukrainians and their movements.

The numbers of Ukrainian refugees published by UNHCR in the following months turned out to be surprisingly close to the initial estimations. At the end of May 2022, UNHCR referred in a press release to 6 million refugees from Ukraine across Europe, at the end of June 2022 to 5.4 million, and at the end of September 2022 to 7.4 million. These fluctuations are likely to be explained by varying return mobility. As of 20 September 2022, UNHCR stated that national authorities had recorded about 13 million border crossings from Ukraine to neighbouring countries – and 6 million in the opposite direction, including multiple crossings by the same individuals. By the same date, it also counted 4 million Ukrainians registered for national protection schemes in European countries (excluding Russia, Moldova and Belarus).

As you can see, UNHCR produces different numbers on refugees from Ukraine, using different indicators and sources. It obtains most of its statistics from state authorities. On its operational data portal, the organisation hence compiles numbers of ‘Refugees from Ukraine recorded’, ‘Refugees from Ukraine registered for Temporary Protection or similar national protection schemes’, ‘Border crossings from Ukraine’, and ‘Border crossings to Ukraine’. The first of these categories is the weirdest: for some countries, ‘refugees from Ukraine’ corresponds to an official estimate by the host state, for some, to the number of registrations for protection, and for others, to the number of border crossings from Ukraine. These different numbers are aggregated to give the total number of refugees from Ukraine across Europe.

Journalists often pick one of these three categories to talk about the ‘number of refugees’ in a certain country. For instance, many newspapers claimed that there were more than 3 or 4 million refugees in Poland (citing UNHCR); yet, these figures pertained to the border crossings from Ukraine to Poland. A certain proportion of the people crossed the border multiple times to go back and forth between Poland and Ukraine, while others continued their journey to other countries. For example, despite the fact that in late June 2022, UNHCR indicated that the number of Ukrainian refugees in Poland was 1.2 million (corresponding to the number of registrations), newspapers used headlines like ‘Poland accepts 4.41 mln refugees since war in Ukraine started’ (ThefirstNews, 2022).

While UNHCR publishes these different types of numbers on its web portal, it also tries to produce and spread a few coherent numbers to be quoted by the media and policymakers. In its press releases, UNHCR often focuses on a single number of refugees, usually the estimated number of refugees in Europe. As pointed out above, this number is the sum of different statistics; for some countries it will be border crossings, for others, official estimations or numbers of registrations for a protection status. This compiled pan-European number of refugees from Ukraine is a big figure that allows UNHCR to demonstrate the extent of the crisis, adding the superlative that it is Europe’s largest refugee flow since the Second World War. UNHCR also added the figure to its global number of forcibly displaced people, stating that ‘the number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations and persecution has now crossed the staggering milestone of 100 million for the first time on record, propelled by the war in Ukraine and other deadly conflicts’ (UNHCR, 2022c). With these aggregated figures, UNHCR demonstrates the importance of the problems it tackles and the relevance of its mandate.

JG and BL: You have been working on asylum policies in Ukraine since before the war. Who counted refugees and displaced persons in Ukraine before 2022? What has changed since then?

IM: Since 1994, UNHCR has worked on and counted refugees (foreign citizens) and asylum seekers in Ukraine. Now, UNHCR publishes the numbers of refugees from Ukraine abroad. After the annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of the war in the Donbas in 2014, UNHCR also started working on internally displaced persons (IDPs) and published the IDP statistics. This has changed with the new phase of the Russian invasion in February 2022: the International Organization for Migration (IOM) now produces the numbers on IDPs within Ukraine.

Globally, the UNHCR has been in charge of refugees and the IOM of migrants, who are not considered refugees (IOM and UNHCR, 2019). The responsibility for IDPs was unclear for a long time, with some actors asking for UNHCR to take over this mandate, others supporting the creation of a new UN agency, and still others favouring collaboration among different existing agencies. The result was a combination of the first and last options. Various organisations have worked with IDPs, such as UNHCR, OCHA, IOM, UNICEF, World Food Programme (WFP), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), UN Development Programme (UNDP), World Health Organization (WHO) and Oxfam. Since 2005, the Inter-Agency Steering Committee has established a cluster system to reorganise humanitarian assistance to IDPs and define competences and leadership in different sectors. Nevertheless, various UN and other international organisations continue to produce data on IDPs, mainly UNHCR and IOM, but also UNICEF, the WFP, the Danish Refugee Council, and the Norwegian Refugee Council. Yet these international humanitarian organisations do try to formulate common advocacy messages (OCHA and UNHCR, 2014). In the case of the war in Ukraine, they agreed for IOM to assume responsibility for the data production on IDPs. Each organisation uses specific data collection methodologies, such as IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, which relies on key informant interviews. By entrusting a single organisation with the task of data production on IDPs in Ukraine, the international organisations avoided the risk of publishing diverging – and therefore less credible – figures.

JG and BL: Some humanitarian numbers about Ukraine seem to be very controversial, while others seem to be consensual. One of the most debated figures since March 2022 has been the number of Ukrainians who moved to Russia. Why was this figure debated?

IM: Various figures circulate about Ukrainians in Russia. As of 19 September 2022, Russia’s law enforcement agencies claimed that since February more than 4.2 million refugees from Ukraine and the ‘Donbas’ had arrived in Russia (TASS, 2022). Contrary to that claim, the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna stressed at a side event of the 77th Session of the General Assembly UN on 23 September 2022 that about 1.5 million Ukrainian citizens were currently staying in Russia, unable to return home (Office of the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, 2022). By 20 September 2022, UNHCR indicated 2.7 million border crossings from Ukraine to Russia ( Much lower numbers of Ukrainians obtained official status in Russia: in the first half of 2022, around 64,000 Ukrainians obtained temporary protection status and around 106,000 obtained Russian citizenship (‘Civic Assistance’ Committee / комитет ‘Гражданское содействие’, 2022).

The sociologist Lidia Kuzemska, whose current research project focuses on displaced Ukrainian citizens in Russia, told me that at the moment it is impossible to verify these statistics. The authorities of the Russian Federation use the number of border crossings and claim that this is the number of Ukrainians on Russian territory, even though many people move back and forth across the border repeatedly or enter Russia and then move on to a third country. Furthermore, as Kuzemska pointed out, many people crossing the border between Ukraine and Russia (or the separatist republics and Russia) have several passports, the Ukrainian, the Russian and the so-called DNR [Donetsk People’s Republic] or LNR [Luhansk People’s Republic] ones, which they use depending on the situation. This adds to the difficulties of counting Ukrainians currently staying in Russia.

There is disagreement not only about the number of Ukrainians who have come to Russia since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, but also about the way and reason they came there. Russian state authorities present the newly arrived Ukrainians as ‘refugees’ (беженцы) or people they have ‘evacuated’ (эвакуировали). These Ukrainians allegedly came to Russia voluntarily – by themselves or with the ‘help’ of Russian forces. Russian state-controlled media broadcast programmes and publish articles in which they boast about the high number of Ukrainian refugees ‘evacuated’ from ‘dangerous regions of Ukraine’, taken in, and supported generously by the Russian state (Channel One, 2022; RIA Novosti, 2022). The Russian-state controlled RIA Novosti quoted the Russian General Mikhail Mizintsev, who claimed that Russian authorities had a database with 2.8 million appeals from Ukrainians asking for evacuation to Russia. In this way, the Russian regime spreads its narrative of saving Ukrainians from their own regime.

In contrast, Ukrainian authorities often present Ukrainians who went to Russia since February 2022 as deportees (Ukrinform, 2022a). They focus on Ukrainians who were forcibly deported from occupied territories and have been kept in Russia against their will. In addition, there has been a major outcry in Ukraine and internationally about the movement of Ukrainian children to Russia. In September 2022, Russian authorities claimed that since February around 650,000 Ukrainian refugee children or orphans had found protection in Russia (TASS, 2022). In the first months of the invasion, Ukrainian authorities labelled all the Ukrainian children who came to Russia as kidnapped. For instance, Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, claimed in June 2022 that ‘240,000 deportees were children’ (Ukrinform, 2022a). Later, Ukrainian officials changed their discourse and described only a small proportion of these children as deported. For example, in July 2022, the Representative of the Commissioner for Child and Family Rights Aksana Filipishina spoke about more than 400,000 children who had crossed the border between Ukraine and Russia or Russian-controlled territories, but she referred to only 5,600 illegally deported children (Filipishina, 2022). In September 2022, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets referred to 7,000 deported children (VOA, 2022). The President of the Russian Federation signed a decree on 30 May 2022 simplifying the acquisition of Russian citizenship by Ukrainian children. Ukrainian officials criticise this decree as a means of allowing the Russian Federation to forcibly turn Ukrainian children into Russian citizens (Filipishina, 2022). They present this kidnapping of minors as an element of the genocide that the Russian Federation is committing against the Ukrainian nation (VOA, 2022).1

How can we make sense of the movement of Ukrainians to Russia in the context of the war? Currently it is impossible to know with any certainty which share of the Ukrainians who moved to Russia since February did so voluntarily and for what reasons. We know that the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territories has seriously endangered the inhabitants’ safety and reduced their possibilities of mobility. It is likely that some of the Ukrainians who came to Russia fled there ‘voluntarily’ in the context of limited choice. They may have chosen to flee to a place that was closer to their homes and that they already knew, where they spoke the language, and where they might find accommodation and support from relatives. Qualitative research is needed to understand their motivations.

Moreover, we now know that depending on the time and location, Russian forces have hindered the inhabitants of newly occupied territories from fleeing to Ukrainian-controlled areas, for instance by stopping and sometimes detaining them at checkpoints or by intensively shelling roads leading from occupied territories to Ukrainian-controlled territories. Inhabitants have been left with the choice of staying in their destroyed, and possibly still disputed hometown, or moving to Russia or Russian-controlled territories to which the roads are safer. They also often lacked access to information about the situation and their options. Some Ukrainian refugees also reported that they had been misinformed regarding the destination of their bus or put under direct pressure from armed Russian military. By now there is evidence, including from US satellite images (Inews, 2022; Washington Post, 2022b), a video released by the office of the Mariupol mayor (Washington Post, 2022c), and Ukrainians who managed to flee (BBC News, 2022; HuffPost, 2022; Deutsche Welle, 2022a; The Guardian, 2022), that Russian troops channelled Ukrainians through newly set-up filtration camps where they were interrogated, photographed, searched and, in some cases, beaten up and tortured. After filtration, some were allowed to move to a Russian region of their choice, while others had their Ukrainian documents taken away and were deported to specific places or detained. Some of those who were free to move across Russia managed to leave the country, for instance to Georgia, or to return to Ukraine. It is mostly these refugees who report about the circumstances of their move to Russia.

Despite these circumstances and the exploitation of Ukrainians by Russian state propaganda, when presenting the numbers of Ukrainian refugees in different countries, UNHCR does not distinguish between the figures reported by Russia and other countries. Maps on the UNHCR website and reports representing ‘Refugees from Ukraine across Europe’ treat Russia in the same manner as other European states (Figures 1 and 2). By not reflecting on the heterogeneous nature of these migratory flows, UNHCR de facto spreads the Russian state narrative that it is hosting many Ukrainian refugees. These figures have been taken up and used in the same way by international media outlets (Euraktiv, 2022; Politics Today, 2022; Visual Capitalist, 2022).

Figure 1:
Figure 1:

Refugees from Ukraine across Europe (as of 14 June 2022) (UNHCR, 2022d)

Citation: Journal of Humanitarian Affairs 5, 1; 10.7227/JHA.102

Figure 2:
Figure 2:

Refugees from Ukraine across Europe (as of 20 September 2022) (UNHCR, 2022e)

Citation: Journal of Humanitarian Affairs 5, 1; 10.7227/JHA.102

JG and BL: In May 2022, the word ‘evacuees’ was frequently used to designate people escaping Mariupol. Contrary to ‘refugees’ or ‘IDPs’, this is not a term normally used by humanitarian organisations. Who are ‘evacuees’?

IM: Evacuation normally means removing people from a dangerous area for reasons of safety. In a military sense, it also refers to the removal of soldiers (wounded or not) or civilians from a combat area, as well as the withdrawal of troops from a place that has been occupied. Both Russian and Ukrainian authorities used the term evacuation in an unusual way. Due to its positive connotation, the use of the term ‘evacuation’ has been systematically contested by the other side of the conflict that used another term, often deportation.

Russia claimed to have ‘evacuated’ (эвакуировали) Ukrainian citizens to Russia. As just pointed out, this evacuation is unlikely to have been voluntary in many cases, and Ukrainian politicians are therefore calling it deportation. Furthermore, in October 2022, Russian authorities and media called for an ‘evacuation’ of Kherson, the city in the south of Ukraine that Russian military captured on 2 March 2022 and since then occupied. Since mid-October, in light of the Ukrainian counter-offensive,2 Russian authorities and the so-called interim governor of the Kherson region Vladimir Saldo, appointed by Moscow, have told the inhabitants of Kherson to leave the city and organised transportation, claiming that Ukrainian forces would attack civilian settlements (Channel One Russia, 2022). By contrast, Ukrainian authorities argued that Russia was ‘deporting’ civilians against their will, including to Russia (Deutsche Welle, 2022b). In mid-October, Ukrainian politicians and media advanced different explanations for the transfer of civilians by Russia. For instance, on 18 October, Ukrainian media quoted a major general of the Ukrainian army who predicted ‘mass deportation of the population’ to change the ‘ethnic composition of the population of the occupied territory’. ‘Men will be forcibly mobilized and thrown to slaughter. […] Women and children – taken to the depressed regions of Russia as hostages and labor’ (Зеркало Недели / Mirror Weekly, 2022). The Kherson Regional Military Administration asked inhabitants of Kherson to refuse the evacuation and speculated that

[t]he Russian occupier wants to use the people of Kherson [as] a human shield to capture Ukrainian cities. The occupiers, who seized the Ukrainian military uniform, plan to organize ‘evacuation’ of Kherson residents in the coming days under the guise of the Ukrainian territorial defense forces. They want to gather civilians in their buses and send them to Kyiv. Enemy vehicles will go along with these buses. (Ukrinform, 2022b)

As you said, in May 2022, Ukrainian authorities and media used the term ‘evacuation’ (евакуація) or ‘humanitarian rescue operation’ (гуманітарна операція з порятунку) when talking about the Ukrainian soldiers in the Azovstal steel plant. While their removal from the besieged steel plant could well be considered an evacuation, the fact that they were then made prisoners of war of Russia makes it sound less plausible (Zmina, 2022). For instance, on 17 May, 264 Ukrainian soldiers were said to have been ‘evacuated’ from the steel plant in Mariupol to a hospital in Novoazovsk or to Olenivka (both in the then so-called Donetsk People’s Republic) – to become prisoners of war. Ukrainian newspapers pointed out that the Russian Defence Ministry had referred to this not as ‘evacuation’ but as ‘surrender into captivity’ (здаванням у полон) (, 2022). However, while Ukrainian journalists tend to speak about ‘defendants’ and ‘fighters’ ‘who are currently in captivity’ (захисники Маріуполя, які наразі опинилися в полоні), they also use the terms ‘prisoners of war’ (військовополонені) or simply ‘captives’ (полонені).

I would say that calling it an evacuation or rescue operation was a way for Ukrainian politicians to frame the defeat in Mariupol in a more positive light, directing the focus onto the lives of the fighters that might be saved thanks to the operation. Ukrainian authorities also claimed that they would negotiate an exchange to repatriate these soldiers. About 200 of the approximately 2,500 imprisoned soldiers were indeed liberated in the exchanges of prisoners of war on 29 June and 21 September 2022, while more than 50 died in a blast in the camp in Olenivka on 29 July 2022. Most political and media attention has been directed towards those who were killed or exchanged, and little towards the much larger group of those who are still imprisoned and about whose situation little is known.

International media have taken up this usage of the term ‘evacuation’ where Azovstal is concerned. This shows how during media coverage, terms travel internationally and are often simply reused without much critical reflection. Right from the beginning, both Russian and Ukrainian politicians try to set the terms to shape the way an event or a phenomenon is perceived domestically and internationally.

JG and BL: Conversely, other numbers seem much less controversial – even though we still lack robust data on some aspects. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is one example. How are IDPs in Ukraine counted?

IM: As I mentioned before, the IOM has been in charge of counting the IDPs in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion. In the first weeks of the war, IOM published numbers, for example in the two situation reports from 2 and 9 March 2022 (IOM, 2022a, 2022b), indicating that there were about 4 million IDPs in Ukraine. Yet, I could not clearly identify either the sources or the methodology used to produce these first estimations.

Since mid-March 2022, the IOM has been publishing reports on the collected data and its two types of methodology. On the one hand, the IOM relies on the Displacement Tracking Matrix methodology, calling ‘Key Informants’ – municipality (громада) or regional (область) officials responsible for compiling IDP figures. However, the IOM admits that it uses this method in some regions only. Moreover, not all displaced people register officially as IDPs. The registration rate may differ between different regions.

On the other hand, between March and July 2022, the IOM carried out seven ‘General Population Surveys’ of macro-regions, claiming to cover the whole of Ukraine. For each survey round, the IOM interviewed 2,000 respondents via the telephone using a random-digital-dial approach and stratified the sample to achieve representativeness. The IOM recognises certain limitations of this method, for instance the fact that the ‘exact proportion of the excluded populations is unknown’ as the ‘sample frame is limited to adults that use a mobile phone’ and it is ‘unknown if all phone networks were functional across the entire territory of Ukraine for the entire period of survey’ (IOM, 2022c).

The IOM has admitted that the two methodologies and their respective limitations may result in discrepancies between the IDP figures they produce. Indeed, in the area baseline report from 23 June 2022 the IOM did not cover all regions of Ukraine and published the figure of 1.4 million IDPs (IOM, 2022d: 5). However, it did not publicise this figure widely. Instead, the number resulting from the General Population Survey published on 23 May 2022 – 7.1 million IDPs – was the one published broadly. The IOM, like the other international organisations, tries to avoid spreading diverging figures as it seeks legitimacy through coherent numbers. For instance, the international organisations involved in providing humanitarian aid in Ukraine stated, the ‘IOM, REACH, UNHCR, OCHA, and the Protection Cluster agreed to work together to ensure the humanitarian community receives credible and harmonized population figures for IDPs in Ukraine’ (IOM et al., 2022). Hence, when different reports and methodologies lead to diverging figures, only some – often the highest – are spread widely.

In July, August and September 2022, the IOM publicised its figures for IDPs next to the figures for refugees from Ukraine abroad – figures that were extremely similar. In its September 2022 report, the IOM indicated that there were 6.6 million IDPs and 6.6 million refugees from Ukraine (IOM, 2022e). This ‘coincidence’ might have been a way to show that both groups were equally important and in need of support.

As reflected in the slogan ‘better response through better data’ (IOM, 2022e), the IOM presents its interventions as data-based and rational. Since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, it has used the numbers it produces to legitimise its funding requests (for example, Figures 3). It claims that these numbers are helpful to evaluate needs and ‘inform the targeting of response aiming to assist the war-affected population’ (IOM, 2022c). For example, in its situation report of 2 March 2022 the organisation stated, the ‘IOM is requesting USD 250 million for an initial period of three months to meet the needs of over 3.5 million affected people in Ukraine’ (IOM, 2022a:1).

Figure 3:
Figure 3:

UNHCR financial updates (UNHCR, 2022e)

Citation: Journal of Humanitarian Affairs 5, 1; 10.7227/JHA.102



Postscript: Please note that this interview was conducted in October 2022. Since then, increasing numbers of reports have been released about the organised kidnapping of children from Ukraine. In March 2023, the judges of the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued arrest warrants against President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, for unlawful deportation of children from occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia (International Criminal Court, 2023). In February 2023, the Yale School of Public Health published a report documenting that the Russian government has abducted or lured, and forcefully held, at least 6,000 children from Ukraine in camps in Russia with the purpose of re-educating them to spread pro-Russian views and getting some of them adopted by Russian citizens (Yale School of Public Health, Humanitarian Research Lab, 2023).


Ukrainian military forces recaptured Kherson City in November 2022.

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