OSCE reports rise in Ukrainian refugee numbers returning from Russia

Many Ukrainian refugees have been returning home from Russia since the middle of February, said Paul Picard, Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk.

Many Ukrainian refugees have been returning home from Russia since the middle of February, said Paul Picard, Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk.

He said their return began on February 15 and hundreds were coming back into Ukraine via the Russian Donetsk and Gukovo checkpoints every day.

The chief observer and Bayisa Wak-Woya, representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Russia, met in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky on Tuesday to discuss the travel of Ukrainian refugees across the Russian-Ukrainian border in the Rostov region.

Wak-Woya told reporters they were extremely interested in trans-border movement patterns to help plan the restoration of damaged infrastructures in Ukraine.

Paul Picard also said the OSCE Council decided to extend the presence of the mission in the Rostov region. The number of observers will not be changed: 23 people will be monitoring the Russia-Ukraine border situation in the Rostov region, among them 22 observers and one administrative assistant.

The mission will keep working at two checkpoints in the Rostov region, Donetsk and Gukovo, he said.

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