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Children from embattled Slavyansk being accommodated in Crimea’s camps

May 31, 2014, 7:59 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL
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SIMFEROPOL, May 31. /ITAR-TASS/. Children who on Friday arrived in Crimea, a former Ukrainian region that recently became part of Russia, from the embattled city of Slavyansk in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk Region, are being accommodated in summer camps, Crimean Information Minister Dmitry Polonsky told Itar-Tass.

Polonsky said the republic’s authorities are doing everything possible for children to feel comfortable in Crimea.

“Not all camps of the Artek youth center can currently receive children due to objective reasons, so all children who arrived from Slavyansk are being accommodated in institutions where comfortable conditions will be created for them,” he said.

“Crimea’s authorities will certainly do everything to help those who have come to the republic,” Polonsky said.

According to unofficial data, overall, some 200 children from Slavyansk arrived in Crimea on Friday. One of the persons who accompanied the group, Olga Gadyatskaya, told the CrimeaInform news agency that “172 people arrived, 25 of them adults, others are children aged 8-16”. Another small group earlier arrived at the Artek international children’s center in Crimea; the children were then taken to another camp.

There were no problems when the group was crossing the border between Ukraine and Russia, Gadyatskaya said.

Ukraine has been in turmoil since a coup occurred in the country in February and President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave it for security reasons. In March, the Crimean Peninsula refused to obey the coup-imposed Ukrainian leaders and seceded from Ukraine after a referendum to reunify with Russia after 60 years as part of Ukraine.

Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

Massive protests against the coup-imposed Ukrainian authorities erupted in Ukraine’s southeastern territories, mainly the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, after Crimea’s accession to Russia. Demonstrators in the Southeast, who have been demanding Ukraine’s federalization, seized some government buildings.

A punitive operation by Kiev against federalization supporters has already claimed dozens of lives. The Donetsk and Lugansk regions held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine.

Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov on Friday quoted the Donetsk Region’s healthcare department as saying seven children were injured by bullets when the Ukrainian army opened fire on residential districts of Slavyansk.

Slavyansk people’s mayor Vyacheslav Ponomaryov on May 20 proposed taking children out of Slavyansk to resort camps of the nearby town of Svyatogorsk and to Crimea to ensure security for them.

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