United Nations reports 110,000 refugees from Ukraine in past year

The United Nations reports that more than 110,000 Ukrainians have fled for neighboring Russia over the course of the year and thousands more have ben displaced as the government has fought separatist militias in the East. This week has seen a fragile ceasefire in place between the two contenders, enabling UN workers to get an accurate picture of the displacement that has taken place in eastern Ukraine.

Only about 10,000 Ukrainians have requested asylum from Russia, despite the arrival of almost 100,000. Refugees cited “worsening law and order, fear of abductions, human rights violations and the disruption of state services” as their reasons for leaving. In addition, some 54,000 refugees have fled their homes to elsewhere in Ukraine, including some 12,000 from Crimea.

While this exodus has been occurring in tandem with larger events such as the annexation of Crimea, the declaration of separatist “republics” in eastern Ukraine, and the election of Petro Poroshenko, it has received relatively little attention from international news media. Within Russia’s Rostov oblast, the region directly bordering Crimea, a state of emergency has been in place in the nine districts on the border, which are playing host to new refugees every day. Despite this, opposition candidates within Rostov report that the refugee figures are “greatly exaggerated:” with currently only 437 Ukrainian refugees with state facilities in Rostov-on-Don, and a further 500 in the North Caucus oblast, these numbers are south of what would otherwise be expected in order to keep pace with the enormous figures reported by the United Nations and Russian media.

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