Ukraine’s population was 41.9 million in 2020, excluding the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula, according to the Ukrainian government’s statistics service. That means about 19% of Ukraine’s prewar population, roughly the equivalent of the population of Washington state, have fled the country.
Russia has had its own mass migration as a result of the war.
At least 419,000 people fled the country in the first half of 2022, according to Russia’s Federal State Statistics Service, Rosstat, many of them traveling to former Soviet states that don’t require visa approval for Russians, such as Georgia. By contrast, in the first half of 2021 just 202,000 left the country.
Hit by this exodus and by Western sanctions, the Russian economy has nonetheless defied the worst predictions to allow many in the country to proceed with life as normal. However the effects of the war are biting beneath the surface.
More people fled after Putin mobilized 300,000 soldiers from Russia’s wide pool of reservists in September, such was the need for reinforcements to be sent to the front line. By the end of the year, the population had fallen by 555,332, from 146.98 million to 146.42 million, the state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported.
High-security prisoners convicted of serious crimes were also recruited to fight in Ukraine by the Wagner Group, a private military company headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a longtime Putin ally.
As for the course of the war, momentum has shifted wildly.
Before the invasion, Russia controlled about 16,000 square miles of Ukraine, which rose to 62,000 square miles, about 27% of the country’s landmass, in the weeks after the invasion began on Feb. 24, according to charts from the Institute of the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank.