Large queues of Ukrainian refugees at Bulgaria’s Durankulak border checkpoint

Large queues of Ukrainian refugees waiting to enter Bulgaria and register have formed at the Durankulak border checkpoint, creating an urgent need for more volunteers, food, drink and hygiene supplies, Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) said on April 11.

Vassil Velichkov of the national crisis staff on refugees from Ukraine told BNR that the situation with the arrival of refugees had changed dramatically in the past four days.

“The flow of refugees arriving in Bulgaria has shifted sharply to the Durankulak checkpoint,” Velichkov said.

After the April 8 missile attack on civilians at Ukraine’s Kramatorsk railway station – of which Russian stands accused – many of those fleeing the war felt that it was unsafe to travel by train via Bucharest and headed for the shortest bus route, he said.

The report said that at the same time, there had been an increase in the number of Ukrainian tour operators advertising on Telegram, Viber and Facebook direct transport and accommodation in hotels. “That is the most significant problem, because that could be said to be trafficking,” according to Velichkov.

The report said that in the past three days, close to 3800 Ukrainians had entered Bulgaria through the Durankulak border checkpoint.

There were nine counters where temporary protection documents are issued.

Of those who passed through the checkpoint in the past three days, 1610 were registered for temporary protection.

Volunteers are providing round-the-clock food and drink to those arriving at the border checkpoint, most of whom are women and children.

Bulgaria’s dedicated government portal on the Ukrainian refugee situation said that since February 24, the day that Russia began its current war on Ukraine, a total of 167 842 Ukrainian citizens had entered Bulgaria, and 77 344 had remained, including 25 000 children.

A total of 39 646 Ukrainians had been accommodated.

The number who had registered for temporary protection was 60 806, according to the update.

(Archive photo: Interior Ministry)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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