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Russia wants to extend period of sojourn for Ukrainian refugees from 90 to 180 days

June 04, 2014, 20:58 UTC+3 NEKLINOVSKY DISTRICT

Russia is ready to accept all refugees, Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov says

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ROSTOV REGION, June 04. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said on Wednesday that Russia’s migration authorities would allow Ukrainian refugees who had fled military hostilities and the punitive operation in southeast Ukraine to stay in Russia longer than 90 days as stipulated by Russian laws.

“We are discussing the issue with the Federal Migration Service. I do not think that anybody is going to touch the refugees even after the 90-day period expires. We think of prolonging their period of sojourn in Russia to 180 days,” Astakhov told journalists.

The Russian State Duma and the government are considering this possibility.

“I hope we are going to solve this question soon,” Astakhov stressed.

He added that Russia is ready to accept all refugees.

“We can receive everybody. Children’s homes in the Belgorod, Kursk, Voronezh and Rostov regions that border on Ukraine are half-empty. The Moscow region has also started receiving people. One bus with refugees has left for Serpukhov, a town in the Moscow region, today,” Astakhov stressed.

He added that the Russian Emergencies Ministry has set up a tent camp for 150 people. He warned the Ministry may be unable settle all; refugees in comfortable conditions,” the children’s ombudsman stressed.

Astakhov said he was concerned with fate of a group of children from Ukrainian orphanages who had problems with leaving the country.

“We are exchanging SMS messages. They have come under fire from self-propelled weapons. Unfortunately, we do not know where they are,” Astakhov added.

The refugees who have arrived in Rostov-on-Don are telling some horrible stories about how they were treated by the Ukraine army.

“I have just learnt that a boy was shot dead only for wearing a St. George Ribbon. These facts should be documented and turned into the evidence of indictment,” the Russian children’s ombudsman said.

The Ribbon of Saint George is a symbol of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

Meanwhile, the authorities of Russia’s southern Rostov region want to declare an emergency situation because of a huge influx of refugees from neighboring Ukraine, Vadim Artyomov, the Rostov region’s vice-governor, told journalists on Wednesday.

The regional governor is expected to sign a relevant resolution before the end of the day on Wednesday.

About 7,000 Ukrainians who fled the military hostilities in the country’s southeast have entered the Rostov region in southern Russia over the past 24 hours.

The emergency regime will enable the local authorities to use funds from the regional budget to help the refugees.

The refugees are being temporarily settled at recreation camps and rest homes on money provided by sponsors but the regional authorities are also waiting for the federal government’s support.

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