TIME Ukraine

More Than 100,000 Ukrainians Have Fled to Russia

Ukrainians Flee to Russia
Children sit in a bus as they flee from fighting in Slaviansk, Ukraine on June 7, 2014. Gleb Garanich—Reuters

UN refugee agency notes an increase in people displaced by the deteriorating situation in Eastern Ukraine

About 110,000 Ukrainians have fled to Russia in the wake of tensions between the two countries, while thousands more are internally displaced, the United Nations refugee agency said Friday.

A spokesperson for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees said at a news conference in Geneva that the UNHCR estimates about 54,400 people have been displaced within Ukraine due to rising fears over abductions, human rights violations and a general deterioration of law and order in the country.

The UNHCR says that while many have fled, few—about 9,600—have applied for asylum status in Russia for fear of reprisals should they return to Ukraine.

The news comes just as Ukraine signed a historic trade pact with the European Union, deepening its ties to the West and further irritating pro-Russian separatists in the East. A fragile week-long ceasefire is also set to expire Friday, which is likely to cause an uptick in refugees.

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