Thousands of Ukrainians Flee to Russia as Army Attacks

Other Ukrainians, meanwhile, decided to flee west to other parts of the country.

There, too, estimating the scale of the displacement is difficult. There is no centralized count and the Kiev government has left the problem up to local authorities.

The latest figures from UNHCR, published early last week, said the number of internally displaced Ukrainians had spiked to over 50,000. This week, a UNHCR spokesman had no updated numbers, but estimated it had continued to rise.

Yulia Gorbunova, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, just returned this week from a trip throughout the country and estimated the figure to be around 100,000 people.

“It’s definitely a huge problem,” she said in a phone interview.

She estimated about 75 percent of those internally displaced came from east Ukraine. The rest came from Crimea, the bulk of which are Crimean Tatars who fear persecution now that the region has been annexed by Russia.

Back at the dacha outside Moscow, Natasha expressed no interest in the battle for power in Ukraine. She only hopes it will be over soon so that she can go back home.

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