As of the 6th of April, around 2.5 million people have fled to Poland, 663,000 to Romania, 404,000 to Hungary, and 401,000 to Moldova. Moldova has already taken in more refugees than during the second world war. Slovakia’s refugee population, around 1,000 at the start of 2022, is now over 100,000. It is expected that these numbers will only increase as the war continues.
Eastern Europe includes Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland. These countries mostly act as places of transition for people wanting to file an asylum claim in other European countries, although not always. Since Russia's war in Ukraine began, millions of Ukrainians have fled to neighbouring countries.
Governance in this region has been characterised by the rise of right-wing populism in some countries, as seen in Hungary and Poland, which results in fewer rights for people on the move. Humanitarian aid organisations have been forced out of some areas by government hostility, despite the critical need for medicine, warm clothing, and shelter. Construction of a $353 million fence along half the border is underway, adding to the growing anti-immigration EU policies often referred to as “Fortress Europe”. Romania, one of the transitory countries for people travelling from the southeast into the EU, has the largest number of illegal pushbacks recorded by UNHCR.
Eastern European countries have been much more welcoming to Ukrainian refugees than those fleeing conflict in the Middle East or North Africa.