Russia’s Rostov region declares state of emergency over refugee arrivals

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Russia’s Rostov region, which borders Ukraine, declared a state of emergency on Saturday, citing growing numbers of people arriving from separatist-held areas in Ukraine after receiving evacuation orders.

“Given the trend of the arrival of an increasing number of people, we consider it appropriate to introduce a state of emergency,” Rostov Region Governor Vasily Golubev said during the meeting. of a meeting, according to Russian news agencies.

The leaders of two pro-Russian breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine on Friday ordered civilians to cross the border into Russia, accusing the Ukrainian military of preparing to attempt to retake the areas by force.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted in 2014 when Moscow-backed rebels broke away from Kiev and Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula. Some 14,000 people have been killed in the fighting since then.

The current head of the Russian Emergencies Ministry said some 400 people, as well as 150 vehicles, were involved in operations to receive people arriving from separatist territory.

Emergency services in the separatist region of Donetsk said earlier on Saturday that just over 6,600 people had been evacuated.

State news agency RIA Novosti reported that those crossing checkpoints were offered medical and psychological support.

Meanwhile, the Lugansk region reported that 25,000 people had left on their own and that convoys were preparing to evacuate another 10,000 people.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his government on Friday evening to pay 10,000 rubles (about 100 euros) to the evacuees.

Kiev has repeatedly denied any plans to regain control of separatist-held areas by force.

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