U.N. expecting 8.3 million refugees from Ukraine this year

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People flee from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia

GENEVA (Reuters) - The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) is expecting some 8.3 million people to flee Ukraine this year, revising up its previous projection, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

More than 12.7 million people have fled their homes in the past two months, including 7.7 million people displaced internally and more than 5 million who have fled over borders, UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo told a U.N. news briefing.

UNHCR had previously planned for some 4 million refugees in the immediate aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 but this was surpassed last month.

"The scale of the crisis, definitely the rapidity of people fleeing, we have not seen in recent times," Mantoo told the briefing. Syria remains the biggest current refugee crisis in the world, with 6.8 million people having fled, she added.

Related video: Ukrainian shopping mall outside Mariupol houses refugee crisis center

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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