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Ukraine refugees “could be me or you,” says IRC president

▶ Watch Video: IRC President David Miliband talks global refugee crisis amid Russia-Ukraine war

More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of the country, according to the United Nations. Within the crowds of people are everyday citizens whose lives have been disrupted, David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, told “CBS Mornings.” 

“I think the biggest impression is they could be me or you. These people are teachers, they’re journalists, they’re charity workers, they’re businesspeople, they’re housewives. Refugees who are fleeing inside Ukraine and then crossing the border are just people,” he said. 

Miliband said more organization is needed as more refugees come into European countries so the “systems don’t overwhelm.” In Ukraine, Miliband said the people still trapped in badly damaged cities are running low on essentials like water, food, blankets and, in some cases, health care needs. 

“We have got real fear for people’s lives inside the country, and we got real [a] job to make sure people are safe across the border,” said Miliband. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has united the normally divided European Union, said Miliband. 

“The European Union has really stepped up. In the past, the 27 countries in the European Union have been divided. Today they’re united. All 27 countries guaranteeing not just the right to entry, not just the right to work, but the right for every kid to go to school, every adult to access any social services they need,” Miliband said.

He believes that unity is what makes this crisis different than the Syrian refugee crisis.

“We’ve got welcome now where it was a very divided response before. In the case of the Syrian crisis, it took three months for a million people to flee Syria,” he said.



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