The war in Ukraine is the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since WW2 The war in Ukraine is the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since WW2 The war in Ukraine is the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since WW2

The war in Ukraine is the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since WW2

Christopher Dembik

Head of Macroeconomic Research

Summary:  In this brief, we expose the basic facts about the Ukrainian refugee crisis. This is part of our continuing efforts to better explain key events affecting the market. It is, of course, too early to understand the exact economic and political implications of this crisis. But we can already say this is the biggest refugee crisis facing Europe since WW2, with already more than 1.5 million refugees. This is only the beginning, unfortunately.

Total number of refugees from 24 Feb to 5 March : 1.5 million (source : UNHCR). Of which, around 1 million are now in Poland. Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania received more than 400,000 between them. About 5 percent of refugees (mostly coming from the Donbass) have headed east to Russia.

The below map is from 4 March. You can see the situation is evolving very fast on the ground. Three days ago, there were around 649,000 refugees in Poland. Now, it stands at 1 million.

This is the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since WW2.

The UNHCR expects that the number of refugees could reach 5 to 7 million in the coming weeks.

For the sake of comparison, there are more than 6.8 million refugees from the Syrian crisis – the world’s largest ongoing refugee and displacement crisis – and about 6 million refugees due to the Venezuelan crisis (a large majority of Venezuelans left the country for economic reasons). This gives you an idea of the scale of what is happening in Ukraine, right now.

The EU has dropped entry requirements to welcome Ukrainian refugeesSlovakia has opened its borders to refugees without travel documents, while the Czech Republic has lifted its ban on Ukrainians crossing without COVID-19 certificates, for instance. On 3 March, the EU interior ministers gave unanimous backing to a plan to grant temporary residency to Ukrainian refugees – this is expected to come into force within days.

Poland is in the front-line : Poland, already home to an estimated 1.5 million Ukrainians (both naturalized citizens and temporary migrant workers), has welcomed around 1 million of all new refugees.

Several fiscal measures have been unveiled to help the refugees and Polish citizens helping them :

Polish households will receive around 1200 zlotys per month (around 251 euros) if they host refugees at home. This will cost approximately 15bn zlotys a year (around 3bn euros).

On top of that, Ukrainian refugees will have access to family benefits such as :

·         the “500+” child benefit programme - 500 zlotys monthly payment for every child under 18 years old, regardless of family income ;

·         Family Care Capital – one-time payment of 12 000 zlotys for the second and subsequent children, regardless of family income ;

·         and a Good Start – 300 zlotys payment for all students starting a school year, regardless of family income.

Political consequences : In several countries, the refugee crisis has created a sense of national unity and put domestic political issues on the backburner. In Poland, a poll by IBRiS for the Rzeczpospolita daily released on 4 March showed that over 90% of Poles support accepting Ukrainian refugees, while 64% say they are personally willing to help them. The center-left opposition is working hand in hand with the center-right government. This is quite unusual. France is going through a rally-round-the-flag moment too. An IPSOS poll released on 5 March shows that President Emmanuel Macron, who is now an official candidate, is above 30 % for the first time. The far-right candidates Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour are in the second and third position, respectively. Both are lower than in the previous polls (perhaps due to their previously loud Putin sympathies). However, it is still early days. Much can happen until the first round of the presidential election on 10 April. 


The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service and access to Analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website. This content is not intended to and does not change or expand on the execution-only service. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Bank Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Bank Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Bank Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Bank Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication under relevant laws.

Please read our disclaimers:
Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (
Full disclaimer (
Full disclaimer (

Saxo Bank (Schweiz) AG
The Circle 38

Contact Saxo

Select region


All trading carries risk. Losses can exceed deposits on margin products. You should consider whether you understand how our products work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. To help you understand the risks involved we have put together a general Risk Warning series of Key Information Documents (KIDs) highlighting the risks and rewards related to each product. The KIDs can be accessed within the trading platform. Please note that the full prospectus can be obtained free of charge from Saxo Bank (Switzerland) ltd. or the issuer.

This website can be accessed worldwide however the information on the website is related to Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. All clients will directly engage with Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. and all client agreements will be entered into with Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. and thus governed by Swiss Law.

The content of this website represents marketing material and has not been notified or submitted to any supervisory authority.

If you contact Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. or visit this website, you acknowledge and agree that any data that you transmit to Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd., either through this website, by telephone or by any other means of communication (e.g. e-mail), may be collected or recorded and transferred to other Saxo Bank Group companies or third parties in Switzerland or abroad and may be stored or otherwise processed by them or Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. You release Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. from its obligations under Swiss banking and securities dealer secrecies and, to the extent permitted by law, data protection laws as well as other laws and obligations to protect privacy. Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. has implemented appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect data from unauthorized processing and disclosure and applies appropriate safeguards to guarantee adequate protection of such data.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.