Ukrainians increasingly fleeing war through Russia to Europe

The border zone on the bridge at Narva, between Estonia and Russia (photo is illustrative).
The border zone on the bridge at Narva, between Estonia and Russia (photo is illustrative). Source: ERR

The number of Ukrainian refugees traveling through Russia to the European Union is rising as people continue to flee fighting in eastern and southern Ukraine, Estonia's Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) said on Friday.

Last week, approximately 200 Ukrainians a day passed through Estonia's eastern border but the number has risen by half this week.

"The number of war refugees arriving from Russia has increased, an average of 300 refugees has arrived here in the last few days through the Narva border crossing point," a PPA spokesperson told ERR News.

In total, 2,301 Ukrainians arrived in the country this week using the border points in Narva and Ikla, in south Estonia. The majority — 1,435 — traveled through Russia. 

Border guards speak to those passing through the checkpoints and said the reason for the uptick is people fleeing from the war in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Russia withdrew its military units from the north of Ukraine and has said it will now focus on the east and south. Officials in eastern Ukraine have encouraged their citizens to flee.

Last week, the PPA confirmed some of the Ukrainians had been forcibly deported from their cities, including besieged Mariupol, and then made their way through Russia to Europe.

Data from the PPA shows there has been a small increase in the number of refugees arriving in Estonia over the past few days.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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