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Number of internally displaced people in Ukraine reaches 102,600: UN

Number of internally displaced people in Ukraine reaches 102,600: UN

PanARMENIAN.Net - The number of people fleeing the war in eastern Ukraine to other parts of the country has jumped from 2,600 to 102,600 inside two months, the UN said, according to BBC News.

Its figures for early June to early August coincide with a sharp increase in fighting between pro-Russian groups and security forces.

More than 1,000 people are leaving the combat zone every day, the UN said. A further 168,000 have crossed into neighboring Russia.

At least 1,500 people, both civilians and combatants, are believed to have been killed and thousands more injured since Ukraine's new government sent in troops to put down the insurrection in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in mid-April.

The pro-Russian militias have since been pushed back to their strongholds in the two cities of the same name, though other pockets of resistance remain.

Before the current crisis erupted, Donetsk and Luhansk had a combined population of about 6.5 million people, or about 14% of Ukraine's overall population.

According to the UN, more than 117,000 people have been displaced by the turmoil in Ukraine since March.

Asked why they had fled the region, people gave several reasons to the UN: security concerns, including the risk of being caught in crossfire; fears of persecution for political views or ethnicity; fears of forcible recruitment by government or anti-government forces; fears of abduction, extortion and harassment; damage to homes, lack of services and damage to basic infrastructure.

Reliable numbers for casualties in Donetsk and Luhansk are difficult to establish, but a UN report last month recorded at least 522 civilian deaths and 258 military deaths. Scores more have been killed since then.

The rebels say they have lost at least 800 of their own fighters and claim the government is concealing the true scale of its military losses.

Meanwhile, in one of the most extraordinary episodes of the conflict, the fate of more than 300 Ukrainian soldiers who sought shelter inside Russia after being cut off by the rebels remains unclear.

The soldiers and border guards, who entered Russian territory on Monday, have been housed in tents supplied by the Russian border service while negotiations continue about their fate.

Russia says that 438 Ukrainian service personnel sought shelter near the town of Gukovo, in Russia's Rostov region, while the Ukraine government says there are 311 of them.

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