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126 Ukrainian refugees seeking safety and new lives in Russia arrive in the Urals

Over fifty of them were children, including 11 babies

YEKATERINBURG, August 03 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian refugees seeking safety in Russia left the Crimean capital Simferopol on Saturday on Russian Emergencies Ministry aircraft bound for Yekaterinburg, Russia’s Urals region. Nearly 126 people were onboard. Over fifty of them were children, including 11 babies. They will undergo medical examination and psychological rehabilitation at a temporary refugee center in the town of Sukhoi Log in the Sverdlovsk region, Yakov Silin, the vice-chairman of the region’s government, told Itar-Tass.

“The people are frightened and shocked. We will do our best to help the Ukrainians adapt to a peaceful life again,” Silin stressed, adding there will be places for refugee children in kindergartens, schools and institutions of high learning.

“The region has plenty of vacancies to offer jobs to the displaced persons from Ukraine. We have talked to Ukrainian refugees who arrived in the Middle Urals a bit earlier. All of them are planning to stay here for a long time. Some said they had decided to stay for good and were not planning to return to Ukraine at all,” Silin went on to say.

The newly arriving refugees will certainly need several days to look around and adapt themselves to new lives. Most of them are unlikely to return to Ukraine soon.

The press service of the regional Emergencies Ministry department said all the refugees had been provided with warm clothes and necessary medicine to make their acclimatization more convenient and comfortable. Doctors working at temporary accommodation centers will look after their health. All the 126 refugees who arrived in Yekaterinburg from Simferopol late on Saturday used to stay in a tent camp in Sevastopol, Crimea.

Meanwhile, nearly 250 refugees from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, among them 76 minors ranging from newborns to teenagers, arrived in Yekaterinburg, the administrative center of the Urals region, and Tyumen in Siberia last Wednesday. Most refugees arriving in the Urals plan no return home.

“We hope the Urals will become a new home for us,” said Roman Sheremet, arrived from the southeast Ukrainian town of Gorlovka which he had been forced to flee. And like many others, no place awaits where he came from - homes reduced to rubble.

“They fired Grad rockets at us. They wanted to destroy us,” said Natalya Zobina, also from Gorlovka, adding that bombs had practically wiped the town from the map.

Amid the guns and Grad-fire, Donetsk and Lugansk region the local militia fighters seek safe corridors for all wishing to leave Ukraine for Russian safety. “They're helping us ordinary people to cross the border,” Roman Sheremet said.

“People are leaving for Russia in masses. Kilometre-long car queues are lining up at the Ukraine-Russia border. Naturally, it makes my heart bleed to see what’s happening,” he added.

Jobs in local industry, public sector organisations and at cultural venues await those displaced to the Urals and Tyumen.

“We take account of the interests of everyone seeking employment,” Tatyana Merzlyakova, human rights ombudsman for the Urals Svedlovsk region, told Itar-Tass last Wednesday.

“People will have four meals a day and we'll help them find a job,” added Andrei Zalensky, head of Svedlovsk region emergencies ministry, already charged with the needs of more than 300 Ukrainian refugees.

Another 5,000 are expected to arrive from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics by the year-end. More than 2,500 otherwise homeless are sheltered in Siberia's Tyumen.

Russia's Federal Migration Service says displaced persons from Ukraine now in Russia number almost two million.