Kamchatka Calls 'Emergency' Over Ukrainian Refugee Influx

People gather outside a damaged multi-storey block of flats following what locals say was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces in central Donetsk.

Even Russia's Far East has felt the heat of the ongoing Ukraine conflict, with Kamchatka authorities having declared an emergency regime over an anticipated refugee influx.

"By September 1, we will be prepared to accept 160 people, though it will actually be necessary to provide housing for 780 people," Governor Vladimir Ilyukhin said in a statement Thursday.

"The Kamchatka Peninsula is ready to take in all those who have suffered as a result of the military actions [in east Ukraine]," Ilyukhin said, adding, "Right now, no one can say for sure how long these people will be here. We are counting on them arriving, moving in, recovering a bit and then later deciding whether or not to stay. Some will find work, some will move out further in the region to start over there. Some will want to return [to Ukraine], and some will move to other regions in Russia."

The emergency regime will allow the authorities to use the region's reserves to offer material support for those fleeing the violence in eastern Ukraine. It will remain in effect until Ilyushkin decides to call it off.

In addition to preparing housing for refugees, the regional administration has also taken steps to find work for those who wish to stay in the area.

In early August, the United Nations said 730,000 people had fled Ukraine for Russia since the start of the year, while thousands of others had moved further west in Ukraine.

Most of those who left the country were fleeing to escape the relentless combat between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops in such rebel strongholds as Donetsk and Luhansk in the country's east.

While many of the refugees have settled in areas closer to the Ukraine-Russia border, like Rostov, they have also spread out to other regions, including the Far East and North Caucasus, according to ITAR-Tass.

Russia's Foreign Ministry and Federal Migration Service have referred to the situation as a "humanitarian catastrophe" and warned that the number of displaced persons in the conflict would rise.

See also:

UN Says 730,000 People Have Fled Ukraine for Russia Over Conflict

Contact the author at a.quinn@imedia.ru

Read more