Russia says 60,000 ‘refugees’ have crossed from rebel-held eastern Ukraine

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Over 60,000 people have crossed into Russia from the two-self pro-Russian proclaimed proxy states since regional leaders announced a mass evacuation on Friday, Russia’s Ministry of Emergency has said.

In a call with Emmanuel Macron on Sunday, Vladimir Putin blamed Ukraine for the evacuation of the Donbas citizens, saying that because of Ukraine’s actions “civilians in the Donbas are suffering, and have to then have to be evacuated to Russia to protect them the from growing violence.”

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly dismissed any intention of mounting an attack in the eastern Donbas region while US president Joe Biden said it “defies basic logic” for Ukraine to try to reclaim the Donbas territory with an estimated 150,000 Russian forces now massed on their nation’s borders.

Western officials continue to warn that the Russian-backed separatist leaders have been reporting false events and staging incidents intended to provide Moscow with an excuse to start an offensive in Ukraine.

Russia’s FSB security service said on Monday a shell from Ukrainian territory had completely destroyed a border guard post in Russia’s Rostov region but had caused no casualties, the Interfax news agency reported.

The incident occurred 150 metres from the border between Russia and Ukraine, Interfax cited the FSB as saying.

Sporadic shelling across the line dividing Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in the east has intensified since Thursday.

Photo – Local residents of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic wait in a bus to enter Russia at the customs post ‘Matveev Kurgan’ in Rostov region, Russia. EPA-EFE/ARKADY BUDNITSKY

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