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As Ukraine refugees rise, Putin urges national dialogue
June 20, 2014, 5:32 am

A woman holds a map of Ukraine divided into two parts, the eastern carrying the name Novorossia, or New Russia, during a rally in support of peace in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Hundreds of miners went on a protest walk through the streets of central Donetsk on Wednesday, trying to express support for a peaceful resolution to the eastern Ukraine conflict, ongoing for almost four months [AP]

A woman holds a map of Ukraine divided into two parts, the eastern carrying the name Novorossia, or New Russia, during a rally in support of peace in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Hundreds of miners went on a protest walk through the streets of central Donetsk on Wednesday, trying to express support for a peaceful resolution to the eastern Ukraine conflict, ongoing for almost four months [AP]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged for a national dialogue without delay even as authorities released figures that revealed nearly 19,000 refugees have fled from Ukraine to Russia.

“In particular, Putin voiced serious concerns about the military operation that Kiev is continuing in the southeastern part of Ukraine,” said a Kremlin statement.

According to latest statistics given by the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, the number of reported refugees from Ukraine has exceeded 18,900.

“They are staying in Southern, Central, North-Western Federal Districts, the city of Sevastopol and Crimea,” spokesperson of the ministry said, “as many as 8,800 people, including more than 4,500 children, are staying at temporary centers.”

The refugees might be allowed to stay in Russia for one year, ” with a possible extension” as long as they get permanent residence permits, said Russian presidential administration chief Sergei Ivanov when he was visiting the refugee settlements in Russia’s southern Rostov region Thursday.

Putin also held phone conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to discuss the failure of talks on settling the Ukrainian debt for Russian gas supplies and its possible consequences for Europe’s economy and energy security.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a phone conversation with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, called for thorough and unbiased investigations into the May 2 tragedy in Ukrainian city of Odessa as well as the recent killings of Russian journalists in that country.

He added that the investigations must involve the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations.

Clashes between pro-government paramilitary groups and anti- government protesters in Odessa killed more than 40 people. On Tuesday, two Russian journalists were killed from mortar injuries reportedly resulted from Ukrainian troops.

 

Source: Agencies

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