Russia Versus 'Nazi Frankenstein' as 90,000 People Flee Clashes
A senior advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin called Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko a "Nazi" on Thursday, as a war of words continues alongside the physical violence ahead of controversial deal with the European Union (EU).
The agreement, which is due to be signed at an EU summit in Brussels next week, would see Ukraine shift its economic investments from neighboring Russia to the EU in a process symbolically changing both political and cultural allegiances.
The deal has Moscow fuming.
"Europe is trying to push Ukraine to sign this agreement by force," Sergei Glazyev, Putin's regional economic adviser, told BBC Thursday night. "They organized [a] military coup in Ukraine, they helped Nazis to come to power. This Nazi government is bombing the largest region in Ukraine."
Asked if he believed Poroshenko was a "Nazi" as well, Glazyev answered, "of course" - predicting bad times ahead for the EU as well.
"I think after the signing of the agreement with EU, [the] European public will be... surprised when this Nazi Frankenstein, which was born by the Euro bureaucrats and some politicians, will knock on the European countries' doors."
The comments surface hours before a truce deal between Russia and Ukraine is due to end Friday, amid efforts by both Putin and Poroshenko to keep the region calm and extend talks in Ukraine's embattled Donetsk region well into the weekend.
Fighting in the region has intensified since a Europhile coup in Kiev in February, followed by a de facto Russian military invasion in the former Ukrainian territory of Crimea and pro-Russian revolutions in Ukraine's eastern provinces.
The conflict, which has mushroomed from local dissatisfaction with the direction of international and trade relations in Kiev to a country-wide struggle between Ukrainian nationalists and pro-Russian separatists, has seen at least 420 people killed and tens of thousands of refugees.
At least 15,000 people have been estimated to have fled eastern Ukraine for Russia over the past several months, exasperated by ongoing clashes between the separatists and the Ukrainian military, which has left much of the region without vital resources.
The exact number of refugees remains unknown; however, at least 5,000 people have been estimated to have fled Luhansk over the past week alone, locals told TIME magazine Friday.
Russian estimates place the number of refugees at nearly 90,000 - about 40,000 of which have been placed in dedicated shelters to wait the conflict out, according to the Thomson-Reuters Foundation.
Neighboring countries have eased their immigration restrictions to help ease the conflict, according to TIME. In particular, Germany stated earlier this week that it would ease its restrictions on Ukrainian immigration for the sake of Ukrainian Jews looking to flee the rampant anti-Semitism.