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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

164,000 people displaced by Ukraine crisis: UN

Iran Press TV

Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:14PM GMT

The UN refugee agency says at least 164,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes, as tensions continue in the country's troubled eastern regions.

Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said Friday that some 110,000 of the displaced Ukrainians have escaped to Russia, while the remaining are internally displaced.

'Worsening law and order, fear of abductions, human rights violations and the disruption of state services' were cited by displaced people as the main reasons for leaving their homes, Fleming added.

This is while renewed fighting was reported earlier on Friday in the troubled east, despite an ongoing ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia activists.

The clashes took place near a government checkpoint around the flashpoint city of Slavyansk and left more than 20 Ukrainian soldiers dead.

Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking parts in the east have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia activists and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in mid-April in a bid to crush the pro-Russia protests.

The violence intensified after the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held local referendums on May 11, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine. The referendums echoed a March vote in Crimea that led to the reunification of the peninsula with the Russian Federation.

The government in Kiev says it is targeting armed protesters, but reports say many civilians have been caught in the shelling that has been going on for days.

According to figures released by the United Nations, an estimated 423 people have been killed between April 15 and June 20 in eastern Ukraine.

CAH/AB/SS



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