More than 1 million people fled eastern Ukraine trying to get away from the conflict, and looking for a better life elsewhere. Russia was one of the preferred destinations.

The United Nations says more than 1 million people have been displaced by the conflict. A Russian immigration official last week also put the number of Ukrainian refugees now in Russia at 1 million although Ukrainian officials say the number is vastly exaggerated by Moscow for political reasons.

Russia wants to use the refugee crisis to show its humane side to Western nations critical of its conduct over Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists in the Russian-speaking east rose up against government forces in mid-April.

The refugees have been greeted warmly by their fellow Russian Orthodox Slavs, offered shelter and some given jobs.

Many were initially housed in tents in refugee camps near the border. Some found temporary homes in the apartments of sympathetic Russians and others have made their way to areas long distances from the border, including cities close to Moscow and in the North Caucasus and far east.

President Vladimir Putin often refers to Ukrainians as “brothers” and said before the conflict that Ukrainians and Russians were one people. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says the refugees should be provided for, given jobs and educated.

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