US President Joe Biden says he hopes to see Ukrainian refugees when he visits Poland on Friday, though he said he doubted witnessing the crisis first-hand would alter his approach.
“I plan on attempting to see those folks, as well as I hope I'm going to be able to see — guess I'm not supposed to say where I'm going, am I. I hope I get to see a lot of people,” Biden said at a news conference in Brussels.
Biden is expected to visit Poland on Friday, where millions of refugees have fled amid the war in Ukraine. Precise details of his visit there are being closely held for security reasons.
Biden, noting he’d visited “many, many war zones,” said he understood the plight of migrants.
“I've been in refugee camps. I've been in war zones for the last 15 years. And it's -- it's devastating,” he said. “The thing you look at the most is you see these young children that are in those camps.”
Biden said visiting with refugees would reinforce his view that the US must act in a major way to assist in the relocation of those displaced by war.
“The United States is the leader of — one of the leaders in the international community. Has an obligation to be engaged,” he said.
Of those who have left their homes, the majority — 6.48 million as of March 16, according to figures provided by the International Organization for Migration on Friday — have been internally displaced since the conflict began on Feb 24.
Others have sought refuge in neighboring countries, including Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, Russia and Belarus.
More than 3.2 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion in late February, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The Polish Ministry of the Interior said Friday that at least two million refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine have crossed the border into Poland. The number of refugees still in Poland is considerably lower, with many of those fleeing the conflict continuing their journey to other European countries.
CNN's George Ramsay and Benjamin Brown contributed reporting to this post.