Poland takes in most Ukrainians fleeing war in March, EU figures show

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FILE PHOTO: Refugees arrive in Poland, fleeing Russian invasion in Ukraine

(Reuters) - Poland was the European Union country that in March granted temporary protection to the highest number of Ukrainians fleeing war, while other countries have since increased how many people they are sheltering, EU data showed on Friday.

What Moscow calls "a special military operation" in Ukraine has from Feb. 24 triggered Europe's worst refugee crisis since the end of World War Two, as more than 6 million people fled Ukraine, a United Nations' migration report said in May.

Eurostat data released on Friday showed that Poland in March granted temporary protection status to 675,085 Ukrainians, followed by the Czech Republic which gave the status to 244,650 and Slovakia to 58,750.

In Poland, two-thirds or more of Ukrainians given temporary protection status were women and girls, while children - aged under 18 years old - accounted for more than a half of them.

Although most of those granted temporary protection were Ukrainians, the data showed Poland also received 575 citizens from Russia and 325 from Belarus.

Based on the data available so far for April, Eurostat said that the number of Ukrainians given temporary protection had increased from March in nine EU member states, led by Bulgaria and Lithuania, which welcomed 30,965 and 21,800 more people, respectively.

(Reporting by Juliette Portala, editing by Milla Nissi and Barbara Lewis)

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