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If the war drags on, up to 5 million more citizens may leave Ukraine, and their return isn’t certain — a forecast

Ukrainian refugees: the number of emigrants may increase significantly. Photo: unhcr.org

Ukrainian refugees: the number of emigrants may increase significantly. Photo: unhcr.org

The number of emigrants from Ukraine may increase by another 5 million if the full-scale war in our country drags on for a long time. This forecast was voiced by Ella Libanova, director of the Institute of Demography and Social Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

According to her, this is the worst-case scenario. Moreover, she believes that if it comes true, it shouldn’t be ruled out that, after martial law is lifted, lots of men will join their wives and children who have already settled abroad.

Quote"There’s a harsh competition for labor resources in the world. Europe is aging more than Ukraine and counterbalances this aging with immigrants. Those Ukrainians who have left the country are well-educated, and a significant number of them are of school and college age. Therefore, if this wave of immigrants stays in Europe for over a year, there’s a risk that most of them won’t come back home," she emphasized.

In order to prevent the worst forecasts from coming true, Libanova emphasizes the importance of communication with citizens abroad.

Quote"Those people should feel that they are Ukrainians and maintain ties with Ukraine. This requires efforts both at the government level and at the level of local communities, schools, kindergartens, and employers. It is important that employers maintain the employment of workers who have left Ukraine. Otherwise, we will lose our workforce after the war," the expert explained.

Context. According to Libanova, in the period from February 24 to September 19, about 8.4 million people left Ukraine. Given that 7.2 million of them returned, there are 1.2 million Ukrainians abroad.

Meanwhile, data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees indicate that during the seven months of the full-scale war between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, the number of Ukrainian refugees amounted to 7.5 million. The majority of Ukrainian refugees, in particular, 4.6 million, declared their readiness to return to Ukraine at the first opportunity. However, several million do not plan to return home at all.

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