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09 Aug. 2023

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Why are russians fleeing to Ukraine during the war?

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Ukraine

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Why are russians fleeing to Ukraine during the war?

More than 1.5 years after the full-scale war, russian citizens continue to attempt to enter the territory of Ukraine. Find out more about how many russians have managed to get into Ukraine and what their goals are

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In the context of international hostility towards russians due to russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, a strange phenomenon is observed: some russian citizens find ways to enter Ukraine despite the closed borders between the two countries. We're going to tell you why they are coming to country and what their motives are behind this step.


To understand the whole picture, Visit Ukraine asked one of the law firms that deals with requests from russians regarding the rules and possibilities of entering Ukraine.


First of all, they told us that among russian citizens there are many ethnic Ukrainians who stayed in russia before the full-scale invasion, but have a desire to return to Ukraine.


A representative of the law firm, on condition of anonymity, told VU that the so-called "good russians" are mostly interested in entering Ukraine, some of whom declare their desire to help country against the backdrop of russia's full-scale invasion.


This category of russian citizens includes people who want to:


- join the International Legion and fight on the side of the Ukrainian Armed Forces;

- become a volunteer;

- move to Ukraine to escape from the russian regime.


In addition, according to the interlocutor, some russians want to get temporary/political asylum in Ukraine. Also, some russian citizens no longer see their future in the aggressor country, and that is why they express a desire to move to Ukraine. 


"Against the backdrop of uncertain circumstances caused by the war, which radically changed the vector of development of both countries, they seek to find stability and new opportunities in a new environment that promotes human potential. many russian citizens observe the conflict and believe in Ukraine's rapid European perspective, and therefore want to move to Ukraine as soon as possible and start the long-term process of acquiring citizenship. Such people see Ukraine as having a strong potential and an opportunity to build a sustainable and successful future after the war is over," the lawyer said.


How many russians entered Ukraine during the war?


For obvious reasons, the company did not name the exact number of russian citizens who have entered Ukraine since the beginning of 2022, but referring to the data of the State Border Guard Service, the lawyer noted the trend of russian migration to country. For example, according to the SBGS data published by Apostrophe, from June 1, 2022, to January 31, 2023, more than 6,000 russian citizens officially entered Ukraine.


At the same time, according to the lawyer, there are no official statistics on how many russians are trying to obtain a permit to enter Ukraine, but it is known that the number of "positive decisions" on the right to enter has doubled since 2022.


In addition, russians who have expressed a desire to fight on the side of Ukraine do not apply to the migration service, but directly to the Freedom of Russia Legion, the Russian Volunteer Corps, and the Kalinovsky Regiment. Therefore, it is difficult to name the exact number of citizens who want to enter Ukraine.




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How often do russians receive Ukrainian visas?


Starting from July 1, 2022, citizens of the russian federation can enter the territory of Ukraine only with a visa. This decisive action of the Ukrainian government was a response to the aggressive actions of the russian federation against Ukraine. Until then, citizens of both countries had been able to travel without a visa on the basis of a bilateral agreement that had been in effect since 1997, but given the current situation, it was decided to cancel it.


According to the law firm's source, since Ukraine's diplomatic missions in russia have been closed since the beginning of russia's invasion, the visa issuance process is carried out with the help of an independent international intermediary company VFS Global through visa centers.


In addition, he noted that russian citizens staying in third countries have the opportunity to apply to Ukrainian diplomatic missions in those countries, as well as to visa centers, to obtain a Ukrainian visa.


"The checks carried out by the migration authorities on russian citizens applying for a visa are so strict that in 7 months of 2022 (i.e. since the introduction of the visa regime), only 12 people received a positive decision. In 2023, the situation changed somewhat, as the number of positive decisions at least doubled, but even this trend cannot be called favorable for visa applicants," the lawyer emphasized.


At the same time, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine told UNN that since the beginning of the visa regime with russia, 61 russians have obtained visas to enter Ukraine, most of them women and children. 


The representative of the law firm summarized that it is difficult for russians to obtain a Ukrainian visa, and, accordingly, it is not easy to enter country.


It should be noted that citizens of the civilized world can still visit Ukraine without any difficulties. The legal department of Visit Ukraine will tell you how to cross the Ukrainian border and what documents you need. You can get expert advice by following the link.




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