Around 230,000 people have fled their homes due to the conflict in Ukraine between the Kiev government forces and self-defense forces.
As of July 18, around 100,000 have left the conflict-ridden area for other parts of Ukraine while nearly 130,000 have crossed the border into Russia.
The destinations of Ukrainians displaced by the conflict are camps in other parts of Ukraine or in southern Russia. Some have registered as refugees, while many are staying in Russia without visas after Moscow announced Ukrainians could stay for 180 days. Many Ukrainians have not applied for refugee status because they are afraid of punishment if they return to their homeland of Ukraine.
UNHCR spokesman Dan McNorton stated that there are many reasons for people leaving their homes, with the fear of being caught in the crossfire as a main reason.
The number of people escaping the fighting to other areas of Ukraine has nearly doubled since the end of June. That number includes 12,000 Muslim Tatars from Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in March.
The number of people escaping the conflict in Ukraine and crossing the border to Russia has increased exponentially since the spring.
Thousands of Ukrainians cross the border into Russia everyday. Since the beginning of the military operation, about 517,000 refugees have come to Russia from southeast Ukraine.
More than 28,000 refugees from Ukraine have applied to the Russian Employment Office and almost 2,000 have been employed. Among the refugees, the largest number that have applied for jobs are education and health care specialists, blue-collar workers, construction workers, sales people and drivers.
Almost 30,000 Ukrainian refugees have applied for Russian citizenship.
Russian schools are preparing for enrollment of Ukrainian children who fled their homeland.
The legal procedures for Ukrainian refugees applying to receive Russian citizenship have also been sped up.
Young mother Natasha left home amid the conflict in Ukraine when her town of Krasnogorivka became the forefront in the battle between Russia and Ukraine. She said everyone who had the resources had to leave the town immediately. Natasha and her family are now in the refugee camp in the Russian city of Blagodatny.
“We left everything and fled in a hurry as they were bombarding the town,” she said.
In only three months, the eastern Ukraine conflict has taken more than 1,000 lives.
– Colleen Moore