Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

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15 May 2024


This is the third Prague Process Policy brief on the topic of forced migration from Ukraine as the direct result of Russia’s military aggression. In this iteration, the brief deliberates forced migration flows from Ukraine under four potential war scenarios, ranging between a stalemate situation to a hypothetical victory of Russia. These scenarios are informed by observed migration patterns to date. The brief utilises the methodology developed by the author in 2021, which allowed to predict the number of forcibly displaced in early 2022 with a high degree of accuracy. Subsequently, this method has been continually refined to account for newly available data.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has precipitated a significant displacement crisis, resulting in millions of Ukrainians and hundreds of thousands foreign residents and immigrants fleeing the country. At its peak, the number of forcibly displaced persons amounted to nearly 14 million. As of early 2024, between 9.6 and 10.8 million persons remain displaced either internally or internationally, while an estimated 31.1 million people reside in the government-controlled parts of Ukraine.

In the event of Ukraine falling entirely under Russian occupation, an additional 9.44 to 19.05 million people could be compelled to flee. Of these, between 7.7 and 16.3 million (83,3%) could move west, approximately 1.55 to 3.3 million destined for Poland, a similar number for Germany, and between 847,000 to 1.7 million (11%) potentially leaving for North America. The scale of such an exodus and the substantial influx to the EU would be unprecedented in recent history. The potential ramifications of such a scenario vary, but all should be carefully considered in discussions surrounding allies’ support for Ukraine, or any potential lack thereof.


Franck Düvell, Senior researcher and FFVT Coordinator, Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS), Osnabruck University. | This publication was produced in the framework of the ‘Prague Process’, a component of the Migration Partnership Facility, with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the author and in no way represent the views of the European Union.