More than 30,000 Ukrainian citizens have asked Russia for the refugee status and temporary asylum, Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky said.
"A total of 30,495 persons have applied for a refugee status or a temporary asylum," he told Vincent Cochetel, Director of the UNHCR Bureau for Europe, in Moscow on Monday.
In all, about 500,000 Ukrainian citizens chose to stay in Russian regions bordering on Ukraine since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict. Some 130,000 have asked the Federal Migration Service for a longer stay, he said.
"Ukraine seems to be No 1 issue. We are working without days off," the FMS chief pointed out.
"Probably, we are not so much surprised at the numbers as at the rates of growth in applications," Romodanovsky said.
"These citizens have had to flee their regions. Mostly, these are residents of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions; their number stands at approximately 490,000. These people, about 400,000, are staying in the Belgorod and Rostov region. About ten percent of them enjoy support from the local authorities and the rest are staying with their families and friends," Romodanovsky said.
"Approximately 130,000 persons have applied to the migration authorities for consultations related to their hope for a long stay in the Russian Federation amid the evolving conflict. They do not ask for work permits. These people have made a choice in favor of a long stay in Russia," the FMS head indicated.
Cochetel lauded the Russian effort to assist the Ukrainian refugees.
He thanked the Russian state authorities, local self-government bodies and average citizens for their hospitality and assistance given to Ukrainian refugees in Russia.
The UNHCR officer said they were prepared to help Ukrainian refugees as they had been helping refugees from other states.
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