A million Ukrainians entered Bulgaria since war began – but only 50 262 remain

The number of Ukrainians who have entered Bulgaria since Russia’s February 24 2022 invasion of Ukraine has passed the million mark, but only a fraction have remained in Bulgaria.

On January 16, the Bulgarian government’s dedicated portal on Ukrainian refugees said that the number of Ukrainians who had entered Bulgaria since the February invasion was 1 002 926.

Of this total, close to 28 000 had entered Bulgaria since the beginning of 2023, going by a comparison with the figures posted on January 2.

However, the number remaining in the country is 50 262, according to the figures posted on the portal. This is a mere 69 more than the figure in the January 2 update.

According to the portal, currently a total of 10 838 Ukrainians are accommodated via the state scheme, 897 more than the figure in the January 2 update.

In 2022, soon after Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s war on their country began to arrive in Bulgaria in large numbers, the Kiril Petkov government of the time initiated a system for the state to pay defined sums to hotels and guest houses accommodating Ukrainians refugees.

This scheme was repeatedly extended. However, in November 2022, the caretaker government appointed by President Roumen Radev extended the scheme but amended it so that a sum was specified for accommodation for Ukrainians, but not for paying for meals for them.

The amended scheme also meant that newly-arrived Ukrainians would not be accommodated in hotels, but would be sent to state accommodation.

(Archive photo, of refugees entering Poland from Ukraine at the Medyka border crossing point in March 2022: UNHCR/Chris Melzer)

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