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Russian PM: 'thousands' fleeing Ukraine for Russia

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev alleged Thursday that "thousands" of civilians have fled the Ukrainian crisis into Russia, an allegation Ukraine denies.
By JC Finley   |   June 5, 2014 at 1:07 PM   |   Comments

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MOSCOW, June 5 (UPI) -- Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev alleged Thursday that Kiev's crackdown on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine has caused "thousands" of civilians to flee into Russia.

Ukraine's State Border Service asserted there is no evidence to substantiate Medvedev's claims, noting that there has been no noticeable increase in border crossings.

According to the Russian prime minister, 4,000 Ukrainians have requested Russian asylum and that the regions shouldering the purported flow of refugees have been put "in a very difficult situation."

Medvedev lashed out at Kiev as he insisted, "The Ukrainian authorities are refusing to see any humanitarian problems. They are even speaking about the absence of refugees. It is a lie."

A prominent Russian refugee agency, Civil Assistance, also reported the presence of Ukrainian refugees in Russia, but said the number was insignificant compared to the refugee flow caused by the Syrian conflict.

"Of course there are refugees -- they come to us because there is a war there," said Civil Assistance director Svetlana Gannushkina, but "This is not like Syria. It's 8,000 maximum. It's not like 800,000 in Turkey. What's the state of emergency? This is a political statement."

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