PM: Bulgaria cannot continue to support luxurious stay for Ukrainian refugees

The Bulgarian state cannot continue to support such a luxurious stay in Bulgaria for Ukrainian refugees, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov told reporters in Brussels on May 31.

Petkov was speaking a day after Deputy Prime Minister Kalina Konstantinova announced that the programme for relocating Ukrainian refugees to state accommodation facilities and some private hotels was being suspended, at the close of the second day of what had been intended to be a large-scale three-day operation.

Konstantinova made the announcement against the background of large-scale refusals by Ukrainians who earlier had said that they would participate in the relocation scheme.

The refusals reportedly were prompted by rumours among the Ukrainians, information about where they were going being provided only at the last minute – authorities said that this was for security reasons – and allegations that the state accommodation offered was of too low a standard.

Petkov, referring to the scheme whereby hotels had been paid 40 leva per person per day to house Ukrainian refugees, said: “For three months we have given unprecedented support in some of the best hotels in Bulgaria”.

“Now we are entering a reality closer to what is expected for refugees,” he said.

Petkov said that he had been assured by Konstantinova that conditions in the state accommodation facilities were good.

In her video message on May 30, Konstantinova said that Ukrainian refugees accommodated in hotels on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast who had nowhere to go after May 31 would be temporarily accommodated in “buffer centres” in Sarafovo and Elhovo.

Reports from Varna on May 31 said that the morning train to Sofia departed without any Ukrainian refugees on board, as most had made their own arrangements about where they would stay.

Some days ago, Varna district governor Blagomir Kotsev said that 7000 Ukrainians in Varna had registered for relocation.

On May 31, he told bTV that 3000 of these had found their own accommodation, and he expected the figure of those registered for relocation to drop further, to about 1000.

Reports on May 31 said that large numbers of Ukrainians who had been staying in hotels in Bourgas on the Black Sea coast had left for Ukraine.


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