Over 5,000 Refugees from East Ukraine Flee to Crimea

SIMFEROPOL, June 11 (RIA Novosti) – Approximately 100 people flee from eastern Ukraine to the Crimean Peninsula daily with a total of 1,300 refugees, according to official information and another 5,000-7,000 unofficially, head of the Crimean State Council committee for refugees Irina Klyuyeva told journalists.

“Approximately 1,300 people, mainly women and children, came to Crimea in an orderly manner. We keep records on them and accommodate them on a controlled basis. But there are also disorderly flows of refugees, who come and live temporary with relatives or friends. According to the information that we have, there is between 5,000 and 7,000 such refugees. The intensity of refugees’ arrival to Crimea is up to 100 people a day,” Klyuyeva said.

She added that Crimean volunteers and self-defense squads actively help authorities to accommodate the refugees and provide them with medicine, clothes and food.

Klyuyeva also noted that a call center will be opened in Simferopol, where all the available information on refugees will be localized. Also, banking accounts for those who want to transfer money to help refugees will be set up very soon.

The head of the commission stressed that the situation with the refugees on the peninsula could be considered an emergency, which would allow using the money from Crimea’s reserve budget. She said, however, that there is no unanimous position on the issue, as this could also scare away the tourists during the holiday season.

Crimean Finance Minister Vladimir Levandovsky announced on Tuesday that 30 million rubles (just under $1 million) was allocated from the Crimean budget to compensate the spending on accommodation and support for the refugees from eastern Ukraine.

Crimea, previously an autonomous republic within Ukraine, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the coup-imposed government in Kiev that came to power following the February overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych and voted to secede. The peninsula left Ukraine to join Russia in March, after 96 percent of voters backed the decision in a referendum.

Violence in eastern Ukraine has been on the rise since the beginning of a punitive operation launched by Kiev authorities in mid-April and has claimed dozens of civilian lives.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that Kiev must stop its military operation in eastern Ukraine and start direct dialogue with independence supporters.

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