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Over 4,000 Ukrainians apply for refugee status in Moscow Region

June 23, 2014, 19:01 UTC+3 MOSCOW
As many as 1,500 Ukrainians out of the 4,000 applicants have already been granted the refugee status
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© ITAR-TASS/Andrei Kronberg

MOSCOW, June 23./ITAR-TASS/. Over 4,000 residents of southeast Ukraine have applied for the refugee status in the Moscow Region since June 13, Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Region Government Mikhail Kuznetsov said on Monday.

“The regional refugee reception center is receiving about 400 refugees every day,” Kuznetsov said.

“As many as 1,500 Ukrainians out of the 4,000 applicants have already been granted the refugee status and are living at the places of their relatives in the region,” the Moscow Region deputy prime minister said, adding there were a lot of children among the Ukrainians who had come to the region.

The Ukrainian refugees have been accommodated at sanatoria and children’s summer camps in the region, Kuznetsov said.

“We are expecting more groups of refugees to arrive,” he said, adding the Moscow Region government would have to resettle the Ukrainian refugees upon the onset of cold weather.

Before August 1, the Moscow Region government intends to resolve the issue of admitting the Ukrainian refugees’ children to local kindergartens and schools, Kuznetsov said.

“Considering that most refugees are not working so far, we consider organizing family kindergartens,” Kuznetsov said.

Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyov has earlier said that about 40,000 children in the Moscow Region are on waiting lists to be admitted to kindergartens.

The Moscow Region government has not yet decided on a possible allocation of funds from the local budget as spending on refugees, Kuznetsov said.

“Money is currently being collected at the municipal level but we need a centralized money-raising system to avoid fraudulent practices,” the Moscow Region deputy premier said, adding money could possibly be raised through a charity fund.

Specialists from Russia’s Ministry of Labor and Social Protection are currently working with the Ukrainian refugees who are also receiving the necessary medical services, he said.

Acting head of the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s national crisis control center Anatoly Yelizarov has said that over 12,500 refugees from southeast Ukraine are currently staying at temporary accommodation centers set up in Russian regions.


Military operation and ceasefire

A Kiev-led army operation against federalization supporters in Ukraine’s southeastern regions that involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation has already claimed hundreds of lives, including civilians, left some buildings destroyed and damaged and forced tens of thousands to cross the border from Ukraine to Russia.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced a ceasefire in Ukraine’s embattled Southeast from 22:00 local time (23:00 Moscow Time, or 19:00 GMT) June 20 until 10:00 local time June 27. He also presented a peace plan to settle the situation during his first working trip to the eastern Donetsk Region.

But Alexander Borodai, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, told ITAR-TASS on Saturday that the ceasefire does not work because “artillery fire and aviation strikes against (the city of) Slavyansk resumed in the morning of June 21.”

The Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which border on Russia, held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine. South Ossetia recognized the independence of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic on June 18. No other countries have followed suit yet.

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