As Russian forces attacked the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Tuesday, the United Nations refugee agency and other humanitarian groups called for funding from across the globe to help aid millions of displaced and suffering Ukrainians amid warnings that the situation in the country and across Eastern Europe is \u0022deteriorating rapidly.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022We already see long-term disruptions in regular water and electricity supplies. People calling our hotline in Ukraine are desperately in need of food and shelter.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued an emergency appeal for $1.7 billion, estimating that 12 million Ukrainians who remain in the country will need assistance while more than four million people projected to flee to neighboring countries including Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia are expected to need relief, healthcare, food, and other essentials in the coming months.\r\n\r\n\u0022Families with small children are hunkered down in basements and subway stations or running for their lives to the terrifying sound of explosions and wailing sirens,\u0022 said Martin Griffiths, U.N. undersecretary for humanitarian affairs. \u0022Casualty numbers are rising fast. This is the darkest hour for the people of Ukraine. We need to ramp up our response now to protect the lives and dignity of ordinary Ukrainians.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022We must respond with compassion and solidarity,\u0022 he added.\r\n\r\nThe UNHCR\u0026#039;s \u0022flash appeal\u0022 aims to help six million people in Ukraine over the next three months as the country copes with the effects of the war Russian President Vladimir Putin started last week, sparking international condemnation.\r\n\r\nUkrainians who have remained in the country are expected to need cash assistance, food, support for healthcare and education services, water and sanitation, and shelter assistance as damaged homes are rebuilt.\r\n\r\nThe International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), along with its partner organization, the International Federation of the Red Crescent (IFRC), also called on the global community to help fund their operations in Ukraine and countries that have accepted refugees.\r\n\r\nThe groups requested $272 million, noting that internally displaced Ukrainians are already in need of emergency water delivery and supplies for hospitals to treat wounded people.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022The escalating conflict in Ukraine is taking a devastating toll,\u0022 said ICRC Director General Robert Mardini. \u0022Casualty figures keep rising while health facilities struggle to cope. We already see long-term disruptions in regular water and electricity supplies. People calling our hotline in Ukraine are desperately in need of food and shelter. To respond to this massive emergency, our teams must be able to operate safely to access those in need.\u0022\r\n\r\nUnaccompanied minor children, single women with children, people with disabilities, and elderly people are in particular need of support, said the ICRC, which has been also been focusing its efforts on reuniting separated families and \u0022carrying out its work to ensure that dead bodies are treated with dignity and that family members of the deceased can grieve and find closure.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe UNHCR reported that over six days, about 660,000 Ukrainians have now fled the country, seeking asylum in surrounding countries.\r\n\r\n\u0022The situation looks set to become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century,\u0022 the agency said.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe number of refugees traveling across the continent is expected to grow in the coming days unless talks between Russia and Ukraine, expected to continue Wednesday, result in a peace agreement. Initial talks concluded in Belarus on Monday without progress.\r\n\r\n\u0022We call for an immediate end to hostilities,\u0022 said international humanitarian group Oxfam. \u0022The protection of civilians must be assured: respect for international law and the principles of the charter of the United Nations are vital to preserve peace.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022In any conflict it is always the most vulnerable people who are the worst affected,\u0022 the group added. \u0022As conflict and its consequences ravage economies, it is people living in poverty, on both sides, who will lose their jobs and their access to services, and who will struggle most to cope with daily life.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe U.N. confirmed reports on Tuesday that people of color fleeing Ukraine have faced racism from Polish border officials and have had difficulty crossing into the country.\r\n\r\n\u0022We advocate for access to safety for all, regardless of their legal status, nationality and race as well as access to asylum for those who want to seek asylum,\u0022 said Christine Pirovolakis, external relations officer at the UNHCR.\r\n\r\nOxfam called on the international community to \u0022stand together in our common humanity, united in our pursuit of peace and human rights for all people.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022This must apply equally to all people fleeing conflict, whether from Ukraine, or to those in Yemen and Afghanistan and beyond,\u0022 the group added.