Officials in Poland’s two largest cities have warned that they can no longer cope with the waves of refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The mayors of both Warsaw, the capital, and Krakow, Poland’s second-largest city, said that they are struggling to accommodate the sheer number of people who are arriving – and urged the United Nations and European Union to intervene.
More than 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries since the war started on Feb. 24, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The vast majority – 1.5 million people – have sought refuge in Poland, with smaller numbers fleeing to other countries such as Hungary, Moldova and Slovakia.
The head of UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, said the Ukraine exodus was “the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.”
And with few signs that the war would abate, the agency has warned that an estimated 4 million people could flee Ukraine.
In a Facebook post Friday, Krakow Mayor Jacek Majchrowski said that his government would begin sending Ukrainian refugees to accommodation outside the city, including in the surrounding province of Małopolska.