MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) – Some 110,000 people have fled Ukraine to Russia this year, while 54,400 others have been displaced within the country, Melissa Fleming, chief spokeswoman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said Friday.
“Since the start of the year around 110,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Russia, and 750 have requested asylum in Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic and Romania,” the spokesperson said at a press briefing in Geneva.
“In Ukraine, UNHCR is seeing a rise in displacement. We now estimate that 54,400 people are internally displaced,” Fleming added.
Amid violent clashes between independence supporters and government-backed forces conducting a military operation in eastern Ukraine, many local citizens have chosen to leave their homes and seek shelter in neighboring Russia.
According to Russia’s Federal Migration Service, more than 400,000 Ukrainians are currently staying in the Russian regions bordering Ukraine, with Russia’s Rostov Region receiving the bulk of the flow of refugees. At least 1,863 Ukrainians have applied for refugee status in Russia.
The US is turning a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis in southeastern Ukraine. On Tuesday, in response to a question at a press briefing on whether Washington believes Russian reports of large numbers of refugees from Ukraine are incorrect, US State Department spokesman Marie Harf said, "Yes, incorrect."
Russian President Vladimir Putin told the government Wednesday to develop urgent measures to support Russian regions that have seen an inflow of refugees from the violence-struck Ukrainian regions.