This is a Report published by ABC Australia:
This is another refugee crisis that personally I am very concerned about.
Refugees crisis grows as Ukraine conflict shows no sign of ending
As the MH17 tragedy focuses the world’s attention on Moscow and Kiev’s deadly battle for eastern Ukraine, thousands of locals continue to flee their homes amid widespread conflict.
Since fighting erupted between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country earlier this year, more than 100,000 people have packed their belongings and travelled to refugee camps, either in Ukraine or across the border in Russia.
In the space of a single week before the MH17 was shot down, the UN says more than 16,000 people fled their homes.
Their destinations are temporary camps elsewhere in Ukraine or in regions like Rostov in southern Russia.
Some have registered as refugees, and thousands more are staying in Russia without visas after Moscow announced Ukrainians could stay for 180 days.
UN officials say many people are reluctant to apply for official refugee status because of fears of reprisals if they return home to Ukraine.
Young mother Natasha fled her home near the city of Donetsk to try and secure a seat for herself and her three kids on a Russia-bound bus.
She told the AFP news agency she had no choice when her town of Krasnogorivka became the frontline in the battle between Ukraine and Russia.
“We left everything and fled in a hurry as they were bombarding the town,” she said.
“Everyone who was able to left at top speed.”
Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of manipulating the figures on how many people have made the journey, and the exact numbers are difficult to verify.
The latest estimate from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is that 110,000 people have crossed to Russia in 2014, with around 10,000 applying for official refugee status.
Russia’s figures are much higher. Anatoly Kuznetsov, Russia’s deputy head of federal migration, says almost 500,000 Ukrainians have crossed the border since the start of violence last year.
Politicians from Ukraine and the West say this is part of Russia’s propaganda campaign to paint Ukraine as the aggressors and Russia as saviours.
They point to the fact that pro-Russian rebels in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic have set up their own “refugee committee” to ferry busloads of people to southern Russia.
Russia has already declared emergency situations in six regions near the Ukraine border, and deputy emergencies minister Vladimir Artamonov says two other regions are in “elevated readiness”.
Regardless of the numbers, the UNHCR says the conflict in eastern Ukraine has created an urgent humanitarian crisis.
“The rise in numbers of the past week coincides with a recent deterioration of the situation in eastern Ukraine,” said spokeswoman Melissa Fleming before MH17 was shot down.
“Displaced people cite worsening law and order, fear of abductions, human rights violations, and the disruption of state services.”
Law and order is almost non-existent in the region, with pro-Russian separatist fighters wrestling for control with the Ukrainian military.
Russia continues to argue it is not allied with the pro-Russian militias, but most leading world leaders and intelligence analysts say there is little doubt Moscow is supporting and supplying the fighters.