More protests to be held in Bulgaria against Russia’s war on Ukraine

The Ukrainian-Bulgarian Association Plovdiv is holding a “No to the War in Ukraine” protest in the central square of the city on March 2 at 6pm.

“The purpose of the protest is at least in words to show our sympathy for our loved ones, the people of Ukraine who are now experiencing this nightmare. We seek support from all people around the world,” Oksana Zabolotnya, deputy head of the association, told Radio Plovdiv.

“Children cannot die, people cannot suffer. This should not happen anywhere in the world,” she said.

Zabolotnya said that various events are being organised, including humanitarian aid – medicines, blankets, hygiene products, clothes.

“I urge everyone to get involved and help,” she said.

In solidarity with the Ukrainian people, American University in Bulgaria students are organising an anti-war protest, which will take place on March 2 at 4.30pm in front of the America for Bulgaria Student Center, the university said on its website.

AUBG is also organising a number of activities to support both students and their families. Among them is a fundraising campaign that aims to raise funds for students affected by the war.

The AUBG community will also host a Spring Cleaning Bazaar on March 6 and an exhibition for International Women’s Day on March 8. All proceedings from both events will go to support all affected students.

“The American University in Bulgaria condemns the war in Ukraine and expresses its support for the country and its people during these tragic times. The university community has always been multinational and multicultural, and AUBG is proud to educate students from across the region in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding, tolerance, cooperation and peace,” the university said.

Currently, AUBG is home to 24 Ukrainian students and 13 Russian students.

“Our thoughts are with all innocent people on both sides who are suffering and losing their lives in this senseless war,” said AUBG President Dr. David Evans.

“Even before the war began, the university leadership contacted our Ukrainian students to let them know that we were monitoring the situation and that we were there to support them.

“Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we organized a meeting with the Ukrainian students to understand how we can best support them and their families and how we can assist them in continuing their education. We also met with our Russian students who too are suffering the consequences of the war and who need our support,” he said.

Sofia University has started to accommodate refugees from Ukraine in two of its properties, a holiday home in Kiten on the Black Sea and a dormitory in Sofia, the university said on its website.

Separately, a declaration, signed by 550 Sofia University professors and staff, strongly condemned “the brutal military aggression of the dictatorial regime of Vladimir Putin against sovereign Ukraine and the Ukrainian people”.

“There is and cannot be any justification for this war, which is already destroying Ukrainian cities and taking the lives of innocent citizens: men, women and children,” the declaration said, adding that Putin was fully responsible for this crime.

The declaration, posted in Bulgarian, Ukrainian and Russian, expressed “our unreserved solidarity and support” for colleagues at Ukrainian universities and their families.

The municipal administration in Tsarevo is calling on the public and representatives of local business for assistance of all those who have the opportunity to provide accommodation for needy Ukrainian citizens, Radio Bourgas reported on March 2.

Four buses carrying nearly 200 refugees from Kyiv arrived at the Ministry of Defence’s Flagman holiday resort in the St. Constantine and Elena resort near Varna on March 2.

Some of them will leave later for Sofia, Plovdiv and other cities, others will be accommodated in the resort.

A Coordination Centre for Support for Refugees from Ukraine is expected to open in Kurdzhali by the end of the week, Bulgarian National Radio said.

A hot line will be opened to inform all those who want to help, Kurdzhali district governor Daniel Delchev told BNR.

“People who want to donate, including companies, including people who want to organise transport or something else, as well as the refugees themselves,” Delchev said.

“The idea is to go through a single focal point so that we can facilitate logistics.” he said.

Ukrainian refugees will be accommodated free of charge at the International Youth Centre in Stara Zagora, municipal councillors decided on March 2.

A further 20 Ukrainian families are expected to be accommodated in Stara Zagora, the meeting was told.

The European Commission said on March 2 that in the light of the worsening humanitarian situation in Ukraine and hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to the neighbouring countries for safety, it was continuing to coordinate emergency assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for the people in Ukraine.

Twenty-six European countries, including recently Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Luxembourg, Norway and Portugal, have already offered support such as medical aid kits, medicine, sleeping bags, generators.

Following Moldova’s request for assistance, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Finland and Sweden offered items such as ambulances, tents, blankets and a field kitchen, in addition to earlier offers by France, Austria and the Netherlands.

Slovakia and Poland have also activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism requesting support in dealing with the influx of refugees from Ukraine.

Greece and Germany are sending tents, blankets and masks to Slovakia, while France is sending medicine and other medical equipment to Poland.

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, please click here.

(Photo: UP9 via Wikimedia Commons)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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