According to Moscow security authorities, the nearly 20 000 remaining refugees come from other regions of Ukraine and were evacuated through the border crossing points of the Russian regions of Belgorod, Bryansk, Kursk and Crimea.
The TASS news agency reported that there are about 48 000 children among those evacuated to Russia, as well as more than 12 000 foreign citizens.
Russia started a military operation in Ukraine on February 24, after the authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics requested help to repel Kiev’s aggression.
Moscow previously recognized the independence and sovereignty of both territories and signed treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with their leaders, which included the establishment of diplomatic relations and military aid.
In a televised speech to report on the start of the operation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the operation is aimed at protecting the people of Donbass from abuse and genocide by Kiev over the past eight years and “demilitarizing” Ukraine.
Putin stated that Russia does not plan to occupy Ukrainian territories, but to defend the right of the Ukrainian people to self-determination from neonazi politics and abuses.