Foreign Ministry: Bulgaria continues evacuation of Bulgarians, foreign nationals from Ukraine

Bulgaria is continuing to evacuate its own and foreign nationals from Ukraine, Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska told a news conference on March 7.

So far, about 1000 Bulgarian citizens had been evacuated from Ukraine, in addition to those who had left by bus and train, she said.

She said that she would travel on March 8 to Moldova’s capital Chisinau, where more than 40 Bulgarians had said that they wanted to be evacuated.

Genchovska said that the opportunity would be used to evacuate them using a government aircraft.

So far, the Foreign Ministry had spent more than 170 000 leva on evacuations “but we expect this to increase”.

Regarding the fact that Russia had included Bulgaria (along with all other European Union countries) in the Kremlin’s list of countries it deemed hostile, Genchovska said that this would be discussed by Bulgaria’s Cabinet.

In other news in Bulgaria related to Putin’s war on Ukraine:

Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry said on March 7 that it was continuing to provide assistance to citizens of Ukraine who want to seek refuge in Bulgaria from hostilities.

Two buses had been provided and daily free bus lines had been arranged together with the Foreign Ministry.

On March 7, buses were travelling from the Isaccea border checkpoint and the Giurgiu border crossing to Bulgaria’s of Rousse on the Danube.

Transport to Sofia and Varna had been arranged, the Defence Ministry said.

Bulgaria’s Health Ministry said on March 7 that more than 45 000 medicines and emergency medical supplies had been sent to Ukraine.

The request for humanitarian aid came via the European Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism.

The Ministry of Health thanked the members of the Bulgarian Association of Wholesalers of Medicines, who in a short time provided the necessary medicines and supplies for Ukrainian citizens.

More than 38 000 Ukrainian citizens had entered Bulgaria since February 24, Bulgarian’s Border Police said on March 7.

The Border Police said that 17 000 had exited Bulgaria.

There are currently about 21 000 Ukrainians in Bulgaria, the statement said.

More than100 applications for humanitarian aid had been submitted at the border.

Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said on March 7 that a mechanism was being prepared to facilitate the opening of bank accounts by Ukrainian citizens who have applied for temporary protection status in Bulgaria under the European Temporary Protection Directive.

This emerged at a meeting between Deputy Prime Ministers Assen Vassilev and Kalina Konstantinova and representatives of the Association of Banks in Bulgaria and central Bulgarian National Bank.

The possibility of withdrawing and paying by Ukrainian citizens with debit and credit bank cards in Bulgaria was also discussed at the meeting.

According to the banks, at the moment Ukrainian citizens can withdraw leva using Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards.

The amounts that can be withdrawn are within the limits set by the respective Ukrainian banks and until the guarantee limit of the respective Ukrainian bank is exhausted.

Ukrainians can pay for goods and services in our country through POS terminals.

As to changing Ukrainian currency, currently no EU country is buying such currency. A pan-European solution is expected to be reached at European Central Bank level, Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said.

Bulgaria’s Cabinet has decided that all types of vehicles registered in Ukraine, which carry out humanitarian missions or transport refugees from Ukraine, are exempt from road tolls when using the national road network in Bulgaria.

“The government’s decision complements measures the state is taking to help Ukraine in the wake of the military emergency and the deepening humanitarian crisis,” the government information service said.

“This ensures timely action to ensure security and the provision of humanitarian and medical assistance.”

The period in which the measure for exemption from tolls will be in force is from February 24 2022 until the need for humanitarian and medical assistance is eliminated, the Bulgarian government said.

Bourgas municipality said on March 7 that it had so far accommodated more than 100 people who had arrived from Ukraine.

These included ethnic Bulgarians from Ukraine and Ukrainian citizens.

The number of beds in municipal crisis centres was running out. Single mothers with children, mothers with several children and pregnant women were being accommodated at the crisis centres.

Food donations are being collected at three points in the municipality.

Bourgas municipality said that it supported a proposed by the Bourgas district governor to open state holiday accommodation because the capacity of the municipal crisis centres was running out.

The municipality said that it had received many approaches from the public who wanted to visit the crisis centres to help.

It said that donations were being dealt with by the Bulgarian Red Cross and the municipality, and the addresses of the crisis centres were not being made public, to give those accommodated there a chance to recover from fatigue and stress.

The leader of the pro-Kremlin Vuzhrazhdane party, Kostadin Kostadinov, told a news conference on March 7 that he had been banned from entering Ukraine for 10 years.

This happened a few days ago after he visited Moldova and then Ukraine.

Vuzrazhdane is the smallest party in Bulgaria’s National Assembly, with 13 seats out of 240.

(Photo: Foreign Ministry)

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