They have official border crossing like any other country , in the case of the Novo’s , the government waived some paperwork and expedited the proses for a time . This was for political reasons , and I’m not sure but , mainly for those that lived in the areas being shelled by the UAF , like Donetsk . There were Russians in Ukraine that would help the civilians get a visa , via on- line . They would apply , and if granted , they would go to one of the crossing points to finalize the paperwork , then cross over .Same there , if you get caught illegally , you are arrested and put in jail , have no idea what the penalty is . The Ukrainian army soldiers that crossed the border , did so openly , at an official crossing point , basically ” surrendering ” themselves to the Russians . The border guards understood the situation , and were generally sympathetic . The Russians were not expecting that to happen , and didnt really know what to do with them , so they set up a refugee camp temporarily , until they figured out what they wanted to do about the situation .