Interior Ministry: More than 43 000 Ukrainians have entered Bulgaria since February 24

Since February 24, the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s current invasion of Ukraine, more than 43 000 Ukrainians have entered Bulgaria, the Interior Ministry said on March 8.

About 23 000 currently remain in Bulgaria, the ministry said.

According to figures published on March 8 by the UN refugee agency, the number of people fleeing Russia’s war on Ukraine has now exceeded the two million mark, adding up to 2 011 312.

The largest number had gone to Poland, more than 1.2 million, according to UN High Commission for Refugees figures for March 8.

Other countries receiving large numbers of refugees from Ukraine included Hungary, Slovakia, Russia and Moldova, the UN refugee agency said.

It said that since February 24, and as of March 6 at midnight Central European Time, Moldova had welcomed 235 000 refugees coming from Ukraine, including about 207 000 Ukrainians.

More than 123 000 Ukrainian refugees had since then proceeded to Romania, the refugee agency said.

Visiting Chisinau on March 8, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska said that Bulgaria could help Moldova in the refugee crisis.

A statement by the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry quoted Genchovska as telling a joint news conference with her Moldovan counterpart Nicolae Popescu that the crisis would continue, and she proposed that Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova have joint checkpoints on the Moldovan-Romanian border.

The goal of having joint teams there was to make it easier to direct the flow of refugees to Romania and Bulgaria.

The statement said that Popescu had raised the issue of the need for additional buses to ensure the movement of refugees to Bulgaria.

Genchovska said that this would be discussed by Bulgaria’s Cabinet.

Sofia city council will vote on March 10 to provide a property that will be turned into a humanitarian centre to help Ukrainian citizens, Bulgarian National Radio reported.

The premises will be provided to the “Mother Ukraine” association, which is organising a campaign to collect food packages and essentials.

Sofia municipality has made available accommodation for more than 200 Ukrainian citizens who have left their country because of the war.

Plovdiv municipal officials told a news conference on March 8 that the municipality had accommodated 57 people who had fled Ukraine.

They had been accommodated at a youth centre, university dormitories and a home for the elderly, while people also had been redirected to private homes and hotels.

Deputy mayor Georgi Tityukov said that the number of refugees in need was increasing and Plovdiv municipality’s planned accommodation capacity would soon fill up.

Tityukov appealed to hoteliers and employers willing to get involved to telephone the municipality’s contact centre, 0800 112 32.

The news conference was told that within a week, the number had received dozens of calls from people needing help and people offering help.

(Photo, of a border checkpoint at Bulgaria’s Danube River city of Vidin: Interior Ministry)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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