Updated 01:04 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) – More than 200,000 citizens of Ukraine have sought refuge in Russia since the start of hostilities in southeastern Ukraine, Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) spokesman Gennady Demyanchenko said Thursday.
"At present, over 201,000 people [have applied for] temporary asylum," he said.
Russia has been reporting a massive flow of Ukrainian refugees traveling to its western Rostov Region since June. A large number of Ukrainians are arriving in Russia under the visa-free regime.
Russian Presidential Administration chief Sergei Ivanov said last week all refugees had been given a warm welcome in Rostov Region, which borders the turbulent eastern Ukraine. He said Russian authorities did not require them to seek Russian citizenship and allowed to work while keeping refugee status. He also urged that employers of refugees should provide their families with rented housing.
At the same time, the flow of refugees has been on the ebb following the Minsk group meeting in early September. Paul Picar, the head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) mission in the Rostov Region, reported earlier that Ukrainian refugees had started to leave Russia for their homes.