Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry: Two more buses to depart from Odessa

Two more buses, carrying a total of 110 Bulgarian citizens, are to leave the Ukrainian city of Odessa for Bulgaria, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said on February 27.

The move follows the lifting of the ban on traffic on roads in the Odessa region, the ministry said.

It said that the buses would travel with a police escort.

Bulgarian media reports said that on February 27, a further three buses had arrived in Bulgaria carrying evacuees from Ukraine, which is under attack by Russian military forces acting on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The first buses carrying evacuees and refugees from Ukraine arrived in Bulgaria on February 26.

On February 27, UN refugee agency spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said that up to four million people may flee Ukraine.

Ukraine’s population is estimated at 44.2 million.

“We are stepping up operations in the country and have started to provide humanitarian aid to those forced to flee,” Mantoo said.

Earlier on February 27, UN refugee agency head Filippo Grandi said that the number of refugees from Ukraine who had crossed to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and other countries was escalating and was now 368 000.

“The governments and people of those countries are welcoming refugees. It is now urgent to share this responsibility in concrete ways,” Grandi said.

Bulgarian National Radio reported on February 27 that the district governors of Veliko Turnovo and Haskovo had called for special sessions of the municipal councils in the districts to discuss the possibilities for providing resources for the reception of refugees from Ukraine.

The councils should urgently discuss what assets – municipal housing and other buildings, could be provided for the reception of Bulgarians and Ukrainians seeking protection in Bulgaria from hostilities in Ukraine, Veliko Turnovo district governor Lyudmila Ilieva said.

A temporary centre for assistance and coordination of those arriving from Ukraine has been opened in the district administration in Varna, the district governor of Varna Blagomir Kotsev said.

Ukrainian citizens will be welcomed by volunteers if they need shelter or medical care, he said.

Three hotels in the Varna area are ready to accommodate refugees from Ukraine for free for an indefinite period and talks are underway with the owners of 10 other hotels who have expressed a desire to help, Bulgarian National Radio said.

(Photo: Foreign Ministry)

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