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About 15,000 refugees flee from conflict-grip Ukraine’s east to Russia

They are mostly women and children, speaker of the parliament of the newly proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin said

MOSCOW, June 12 /ITAR-TASS/. About 15,000 refugees have crossed the border between Ukraine and Russia fleeing from areas of combat operation in Ukraine’s southeastern regions, speaker of the parliament of the newly proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

“I cannot provide more exact figures but, as far as I know, the number of refugees is about 15,000. They are mostly women and children,” he said.

Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Lamberto Zannier, who met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday in Moscow, is expected to arrive to Russia’s southern Rostov regions to meet with the Ukrainian refugees.

“We think it will be very useful to get a comprehensive picture, it will be useful to speak with eyewitnesses of the events in Ukraine’s east in order to get a clear, unbiased idea of what is going on there,” Lavrov said.

Russian ombudswoman Ella Pamfilova said on Wednesday the flow of Ukrainian refugees to Crimea was increasing. "There's been a larger inflow of refugees from Ukraine, from Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, to Crimea," Pamfilova told Russian lawmakers. "We've accommodated 2,000 refugees, but have problems with accommodating others," she added.

According to Pushilin, Ukraine’s army continue combat operations and refuse to provide a humanitarian corridor for refugees. “Slavyansk and Kramatorks are constantly shelled by the Ukrainian army,” he said, adding that the Donetsk Republic planned to form its own border troops. He said that Ukrainian troops were evading direct clashes with the Donetsk Republic’s voluntary self-defence units, shelling big settlements instead. The majoring of big cities, including Mariupol, were controlled by the Donetsk Republic “Mariupol is a city of the Donetsk People’s Republic, although we have no control of a number of facilities there, including the airport,” he said.