More than one million people have been displaced by the conflict in Ukraine, including 814,000 Ukrainians now in Russia with various forms of status, the UNHCR United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday.
Numbers displaced inside Ukraine by the fighting have nearly doubled in the past there weeks to at least 260,000 and more are fleeing, it earlier told a Geneva news briefing.
"It's safe to say you have over a million people now displaced as a result of the conflict, internally and externally together," Vincent Cochetel, director of the UNHCR's bureau for Europe, later told reporters. "I mean 260,000 in Ukraine, it's a low estimate, 814,000 in Russia, then you add the rest ... Belarus, Moldova, European Union."
'Direct and open aggression'
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia on Monday of launching "direct and open aggression" which he said had radically changed the balance on the battlefield against Kiev in its fight against pro-Russian separatists.
"Direct and open aggression has been launched against Ukraine from a neighboring state. This has changed the situation in the zone of conflict in a radical way," he said in a speech at a military academy in Kiev.
Following events last week in Ukraine, when government forces suffered major reverses against the rebels, there would be high-level personnel changes in the Ukrainian armed forces, he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday he hoped "common sense" would prevail in the West over the possibility of imposing additional sanctions, Russian news agency Interfax reported on Monday.
"I hope that common sense will prevail and we will work in a normal modern way, and that neither we nor our partners will bear the costs of these mutual jabs," the agency reported him as saying.
European Union leaders agreed on Saturday to ask the European Commission to draw up more measures against Moscow, which could be adopted in coming days, after accusations that Russia was sending troops into Ukrainian territory.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now