The latest news on the Ukraine-Russia border crisis: live updates
Evacuees from separatist-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine continued to enter Russia through a border checkpoint on Sunday, entering the southern Rostov region by car, bus and on foot, a journalist observed. from CNN on the ground.
At the Avila-Uspenka border crossing in the Rostov region, residents leaving the Donbass were greeted by representatives of the Russian Emergency Services Ministry and members of a pro-Putin youth group at a makeshift camp .
Traffic out of Donetsk was moderate with families driving cars with Donetsk People’s Republic license plates and occasional groups of evacuees in small groups of two to four people, mostly families with young children.
An evacuee from the city of Donetsk told CNN her family was evacuated on short notice after hearing shellfire early Sunday morning.
“Everything happened spontaneously, we heard sounds of shelling around 1 a.m., I grabbed my baby and ran,” Irina, 35, told CNN near the border post after being taken to the checkpoint and then crossed on foot with her 5-year-old son, Danil. Irina declined to give CNN her last name for security reasons.
Local Russian emergency services set up makeshift cafeterias, toilets and showers, as well as two rows of inflatable makeshift tents inside which some evacuees slept on bunk beds while waiting to be taken to other accommodations.
Meanwhile, rows of empty buses waited to take evacuees’ camps and sanatoria to the nearby port city of Taganrog.
“We left voluntarily, nobody made us leave and some people choose to stay,” said Viktor Ivanovitch, 63, who gave only his first name and surname. He crossed the border with his wife in their car.
When asked if they had been given instructions on when they could return, the couple said no.
Local officials in the Rostov region declared a state of emergency after separatist leaders on Friday ordered the evacuation of civilians from the area.