The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has cautioned that increased military activity in Ukraine will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis and prompt a rise in displacement.
The IRC’s warning came on the heels of President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Wednesday launching the immediate partial mobilization of Russian citizens in the conflict.
Moscow will summon 300,000 reservists as part of its strategy, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
“Russia’s move to mobilise additional armed forces sets the conflict on a fresh and dangerous path,” Marysia Zapasnik, IRC Ukraine country director, said in a statement.
“A further escalation in fighting is a grave concern for the Ukrainian people — both inside the country and for those who have left.
“In the last seven months, Ukraine has experienced a desperate spiral into humanitarian catastrophe; almost 18 million people are in need of shelter, food and healthcare and the future looks bleak as winter closes in and conditions worsen. Meanwhile, displacement could soar as more people attempt to leave the country to seek safety in neighbouring countries.”
Recent figures from the UN’s refugee agency show that over 7.2 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe.
“The consequences of the conflict will be longlasting: if the war deepens and protracts further, Ukraine’s population could face poverty and the vulnerabilities that come with it for years to come,” Zapasnik added.
“The only solution is an immediate ceasefire.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a key point of discussion for world leaders gathering in New York City for the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is the only world leader to speak by video, as he grapples with the war in his country. The Assembly on Friday overrode Russian objections to permit Zelensky to speak virtually.
CNN’s Richard Roth contributed reporting.