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At war’s end, will Ukrainian refugees come home–or thrive elsewhere?

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More than 4 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion on Feb. 24, according to United Nations data. Whether they return—or thrive in their new countries—depends upon how quickly Ukraine can rebuild an economic engine, and how much support refugees receive in their resettled countries, say two Northeastern scholars.

“We’re in the middle of this conflict still, with no end in sight just yet. But we’ve seen enough of the migration patterns to know that this crisis will present challenges in dealing with short- and long-term consequences,” says Thomas Vicino, professor of political science at Northeastern. Already, the war in Ukraine has created the largest flow of refugees in a single year since at least the end of the Cold War, according to reporting by The Economist. The vast majority of Ukrainian refugees who have fled their home country have resettled in other Eastern European countries, including Poland, Romania, Hungary, Moldova, Russia, Slovakia, and Belarus—a resettlement pattern that may prove beneficial to Ukraine when—and if—it begins to rebuild.

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