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10 Jul, 2014 12:07

Ukrainian refugees precipitate emergency situation in 6 Russian regions

Ukrainian refugees precipitate emergency situation in 6 Russian regions

Six Russian regions have introduced emergency situation plans, and two more could do so soon as people keep fleeing from the combat and destruction in South East Ukraine.

A state of emergency has been declared in the Rostov, Volgograd, Astrakhan, and Stavropol regions, in the Republic of Kalmykia and in the city of Sevastopol, Deputy Emergencies Minister Vladimir Artamonov told reporters on Thursday. The current situation has also prompted the “regime of increased readiness” in Belgorod and Voronezh regions, he added.

Artamonov said the flow of refugees from Ukraine continues to grow after the Kiev authorities ended the ceasefire and started a new advance in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Because of this, the Emergencies Ministry had to organize regular flights from the regions that border Ukraine to other parts of Russia. In total, 40 regions of the Russian Federation are receiving Ukrainian refugees.

The Rostov Region, which is closest to the war-torn Ukrainian areas, was the first to introduce an emergency situation in late June.

According to the UN agency for refugees, over 110,000 people have arrived to Russia from Ukraine since the beginning of the military conflict in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. However, only about 10,000 of them have officially applied for asylum or refugee status.

Refugees from Ukraine in a camp in the Rostov region (RIA Novosti / Valery Melnikov)

Ukrainian citizens can stay in Russia for 90 days without obtaining a visa and many people have simply delayed their application and dealt with more urgent issues. Also, the arrivals could fear the lengthy process and long queues.

The Federal Migration Service has proposed a quick and simplified way to grant temporary asylum to Ukrainian refugees in a bill that was posted on the government portal for public discussion last week.

The proposal suggests regional migration officials could grant temporary asylum to Ukrainians within three days instead of the current three months, the obligatory health test would be done away with, and the authorities would stop deporting and extraditing Ukrainians until ordered otherwise by the Russian government.

Earlier, the head of the presidential administration, Sergey Ivanov visited a refugee camp in the Rostov Region and suggested giving Russian citizenship to people born on the Russian soil (the current law only automatically grants citizenship to children of Russian parents).

Refugees from Ukraine in a camp in the Rostov region (RIA Novosti / Valery Melnikov)