World, Europe, Russia-Ukraine War

Slovakia to grant entry to fleeing Ukrainians

People lacking valid documents also to be eligible to enter Slovakia amid Russian military intervention, say Slovak police

Ahmet Gencturk   | 24.02.2022
Slovakia to grant entry to fleeing Ukrainians

ANKARA

Slovakia, one of Ukraine's neighbors to the west, announced on Thursday that it would let fleeing Ukrainians into the country amid Russia's ongoing military intervention.

Entry will be granted on an individual basis, the Slovak Police Force said on Facebook, adding that people who do not hold valid travel documents will also be eligible to enter the country.

Interior Minister Roman Mikulec said in a separate announcement that police forces were monitoring the situation on the border with Ukraine, according to media reports.

Slovakia is also ready to offer temporary shelter or asylum to those who ask for it, Mikulec added according to the daily Slovak Spectator.

Another of Ukraine's neighbors, Moldova said the first group of Ukrainian citizens -- over 4,000 -- had arrived in the country.

"Our borders are open for Ukrainian citizens who need safe transit or stay," Moldovan President Maia Sandu said on Twitter.

Donbas crisis and Russia's military intervention

Ukraine's February 2014 "Maidan revolution" caused President Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country and a pro-Western government to come to power. Russia then illegally annexed Crimea, and separatists in eastern Ukraine declared their so-called administrations of Donetsk and Luhansk, both home to large ethnic Russian populations.

Deadly clashes broke out between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian army. The 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements, signed in Moscow with the intervention of Western powers, sought to stop the conflict but cease-fire violations continued, resulting in some 14,000 deaths as of February.

Late last year, Russia made headlines by deploying tens of thousands of its troops on the border with Ukraine, with the US accusing it of gearing up for an invasion -- claims Moscow denied. Amid threats of Western sanctions, Moscow recognized the separatist administrations in Donbas and launched a military operation in Ukrainian territory on Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the operation's aim was to protect people "subjected to genocide" by Kyiv and to "demilitarize and denazify" Ukraine. He called on the Ukrainian army to lay down its arms.

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