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Sergei Ivanov visited centres serving as temporary shelters for Ukrainian citizens in Russia

June 19, 2014, Rostov Region

While visiting Rostov Region, Mr Ivanov looked over the private children’s centre Pioneer, which is giving temporary accommodation in Russia to Ukrainian citizens. Most of those currently living at the centre are women and children from areas in Ukraine where military operations are underway. The centre has taken in 229 people, including 151 children aged from four months to 16 years. The Rostov Region Federal Migration Service and employment centre have opened mobile offices at the centre, where the refugees can get the documents they need using simplified procedures. Mr Ivanov also spoke with the Barakhovich family, who have taken in a Ukrainian family with two children. Mr Ivanov said that the authorities will do everything possible to help the refugees. If need be, Rostov Region is ready to take the children from Ukraine into its schools so that they can continue their studies.

Mr Ivanov also visited the Dmitriadovsky Children’s Health Centre, which has taken in 580 Ukrainian citizens who fled the military operations in Ukraine. The centre has a fully-equipped medical centre, where the new arrivals get a thorough check-up and receive the necessary medical assistance on site or are sent to hospital or for consultations with specialist doctors. 

The Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office also spoke with staff at the Federal Migration Service’s office, who said that the Ukrainian citizens receive documents granting them temporary asylum or refugee status and are housed either in the private sector or in the centres providing temporary accommodation. Around 15 percent of the refugees express interest in obtaining Russian citizenship. “Don’t forget to tell them that under the new law, three months’ residence here is enough for native speakers of Russian”, Mr Ivanov said. 

Mr Ivanov summed up his assessment of the situation in Ukraine during a meeting with families, volunteers, and officials from charity organisations taking part in assisting the refugees. “What is happening there is civil war, which is steadily turning towards genocide against the country’s own people,” the Chief of Staff said.

“Russia’s regional and federal authorities and Government will react and help the refugees. They are innocent people, our brothers, our people, and we will do for them whatever they require of us. There are a number of options open to them. They can get refugee status or be granted temporary asylum, and we now have a greatly simplified procedure in place for obtaining citizenship,” Mr Ivanov said, adding that in his view, people are simply being squeezed out into Russia. “There are no humanitarian corridors opened for people wanting to leave the conflict zone in Ukraine,” he said. “Russia will not draw a line between the fraternal Russian and Ukrainian peoples. This is unnecessary and is not a good thing.”

Mr Ivanov asked during the meeting about whether officials from the UN’s refugee agency are at work in the centres taking in Ukrainian refugees. He was told that no UN officials have visited the centres.

“One cannot help but be amazed by the double standards,” Mr Ivanov said. “This situation has been going on for more than a month now, but it is as if nothing has happened at all and all the commissioners for refugees have suddenly vanished as if there was no problem.” 

On the subject of finding employment for the refugees, Mr Ivanov said that Russia will need to set up a coordinating body to help the Ukrainian citizens find work in Russia, based on their skills and qualifications.

June 19, 2014, Rostov Region