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Russia Says Almost 300,000 Ukrainians Asked For Asylum

An official of the Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) says almost 300,000 Ukrainian citizens have asked Russia either for temporary asylum or a refugee status.

FMS Naturalization Department head Valentina Kazakova said on February 16 that more than 260,000 Ukrainian citizens have already received either asylum or refugee status.

It is not possible to verify the Russian government's figures, and the Ukrainian governmnet has not commented.

Kazakova added that more than 900,000 refugees who fled the military conflict between the Ukrainian Army and Russia-back separatists in easter Ukraine are currently in Russia.

According to Kazakova, some 70,000 Ukrainians applied for Russian citizenship in 2014.

Kazakova declined to comment on whether former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had applied for the Russian citizenship, saying the law does not allow her to discuss personal data of people without their consent.

Yanukovych has been in Russia since he fled pro-European protests in February 2014.

Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS