Bulgarian fundraising campaign for humanitarian aid for Ukraine nears million leva mark

A fundraising campaign by the Bulgarian Red Cross in co-operation with the Bulgarian government has drawn in more than 920 000 leva (about 470 000 euro) in three days, the Bulgarian Red Cross said on March 3.

The organisation said that on March 3, the fifth in a series of lorries carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine had left the Bulgarian Red Cross headquarters in Sofia.

The cargo includes warm clothes and blankets, winter footwear, bed linen and hygiene products.

The humanitarian aid will be handed to the Ukrainian Red Cross to provide to those in need.

The campaign for donations of items for humanitarian aid is continuing every day of the week, including days off, the organisation.

Details of how to donate money may be found at this link.

Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said on March 3 that since February 24 – the day the current invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin was launched – a total of more than 16 000 Ukrainian citizens had crossed the border from Romania into Bulgaria.

Forty-five Ukrainians had applied for humanitarian protection on arrival at the border.

Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, speaking to reporters at Shipka Peak, confirmed that Bulgaria would send humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

The government was also working purposefully to support Ukrainian refugees, Petkov said.

“There never has been a good refugee policy in Bulgaria, but it is time to have one, because these people need our help, and Bulgaria needs people like them,” he said.

Petkov called on Bulgarians not to believe in lies and hybrid attacks such as the rumours spread on social networks about a lack of fuel.

He said that the panic on the issue had been created deliberately for political purposes, to destabilise the government.

Bulgarians should not succumb to provocations and should seek information from official sources, Petkov said.

Bulgarian Defence Chief Admiral Emil Evtimov said that the military was closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine with heightened vigilance.

Bulgaria’s new Defence Minister Dragomir Zakov said: “The Bulgarian army will remain and will always be the guarantor of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Bulgaria,” Bulgarian National Radio reported.

In other news in Bulgaria related to the Russia-Ukraine war, the district governor of Montana has convened a meeting on March 8 of the district crisis staff.

Those attending the meeting have been asked to report on arrangements and resources to help people coming from Ukraine. In the past week, many districts and municipalities in Bulgaria have taken steps to help refugees and evacuees.

In Moldova, European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi announced on March 3 that the EU would offer 15 million euro assistance for managing the refugee crisis and five million euro in humanitarian aid for providing immediate assistance to Ukrainian citizens.

Speaking in Chisinau, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that in the past week, Moldova had provided safe passage to more than 100 000 refugees escaping the war in Ukraine.

Moldova had provided refugee to mothers and more than 20 000 children fleeing the bombs in Ukraine, Borrell said.

“On electricity, we are currently looking at supporting energy security in Moldova and bringing the country towards the European Union electricity grid and we hope to have an assessment by the European network (ENSTO-E) quickly,” he said.

“We will support Moldova in strengtheningMoldova’s cyber security,” Borrell said.

“An expert mission is here already, in Chisinau, as we speak, to assess the needs and identify concrete support measures, that can be implemented at very short notice. 

“Secondly, we are going to use our European Peace Facility to provide the Moldovan armed forces with medical equipment and support in case of crisis. We will discuss today options for additional assistance and logistics, if needed,” he said.

Visiting Bucharest, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that Romania had welcomed close to 150 000 people who had left Ukraine and had provided them with food and shelter.

“Romanians have given such a moving example to the world,” Von der Leyen said.

“But Romania is not only welcoming the refugees, it is also helping their neighbours, like Moldova.

“You provided electricity generators, for example, which is extremely important for Moldova. Romania provided medicines to Ukraine. You are a shining example of European solidarity and I really want to commend and thank you for that,” Von der Leyen said.

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

(Photo: Bulgarian Red Cross)

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