Moscow’s acting emergencies minister said Wednesday that over 96,000 refugees from the Donbas have crossed the border into Russia since evacuation began, Russia’s Tass news agency reported.
“As of 06:00 Moscow time, the Russian border was crossed by more than 96,000 people,” minister Alexander Chupriyan said. He said there are currently 230 temporary accommodation stations for the refugees in Russia.
The leaders of the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk republics in the Donbas ordered the evacuation of civilians on February 18th and warned Ukraine was preparing an offensive. Since then, ceasefire violations in the conflict zone in the Donbas have spiked.
Both sides blame the other for the escalation in fighting. The spike in violence appeared to be a major factor in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the independence of the DPR and LPR.
The separatists on Wednesday formally asked Putin to help “repel” the Ukrainian army.