Ukrainians remaining in Bulgaria dropped by more than 13 000 in past fortnight

The number of Ukrainians remaining in Bulgaria decreased by 13 104 in the fortnight between May 15 and 29, to a current 90 365, going by figures posted on the official government portal.

State Agency for Refugees head Mariana Tosheva told reporters on May 29 that 5000 Ukrainians had left Bulgaria in the past day.

The trend was established with the approach of the May 31 deadline for the end of the 40 leva per person per day state funding for hotels accommodating Ukrainians who have fled Russia’s war on their country.

Over the past two weeks, the number of Ukrainians who have entered Bulgaria rose by 33 646, to 293 611 since Russia began its current invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

However, the figure for those who entered Bulgaria includes those who passed through in transit.

The number of Ukrainians accommodated has decreased by 6997 in the past two weeks, to a current 56 130, according to the Bulgarian government portal.

Ukrainians registered for temporary protection increased in the past two weeks by 7322, to a current 110 616. For more than week, the number who have temporary protection has exceeded the number who have remained in Bulgaria.

May 29 saw an uncertain start to the intention to relocate several thousand Ukrainians from hotels at the Black Sea coast to state facilities and hotels elsewhere.

As The Sofia Globe reported earlier, in Varna on Sunday morning, while arrangements had been made to transport 200 Ukrainians by train and bus to Panichishte and Ribaritsa, only five arrived for the train trip.

Five drove to their new accommodation in private cars, while the rest reportedly either planned to stay a couple of days more in their current hotels, had arranged alternative private accommodation, or intended returning to Ukraine.

As the train was due to depart Varna Railway Station, the Ukrainians who arrived for the journey were vastly outnumbered by police, officials, Bulgarian Red Cross volunteers and journalists.

It remained unclear whether the last-minute refusals by the Ukrainians to take part in the new phase of the accommodation system was a trend or a one-off.

In the early afternoon, 57 Ukrainians boarded the Bourgas-Sofia train en route for Panichishte, while 12 headed for Panichishte in private cars. The intention had been that 300 would be on the Bourgas-Sofia train.

Bulgaria’s government has intended to relocate several thousand Ukrainians to their new accommodation over the three days from May 29 to 31.

Given what has happened on Sunday, it is difficult to state how many eventually will be relocated.

(Photo: BDZ)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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