Mayor Ilko Stoyanov embracing the newly arrived Ukrainians, Source: City of Blagoevgrad

Bulgarian city teams up with football club to evacuate Ukrainian citizens

Bulgarian city teams up with football club to evacuate Ukrainian citizens

The refugees have arrived in Blagoevgrad safely and now authorities will do their best to integrate them into society as quickly as possible

Yesterday, local authorities in Blagoevgrad met the first wave of Ukrainian refugees coming into the city. Though far away from the border with Romania, Blagoevgrad was one of the first cities to react decisively to the crisis, as authorities offered to house the refugees in vacant social housing units.

The 25 refugees that came to the city were evacuated from Ukraine with the bus of local football club ‘Pirin’ which was staffed with volunteers. The youngest of the newcomers were a six month old called Cyril and his sister Yaroslava.

Moving quickly to integrate the refugees into society

Upon arrival, the Ukrainian group was granted a statute of temporary protection and they will be temporarily housed for free in a local hotel. Temporary protection is a measure granted by the Council of the European Union.

It applies to massive amounts of people, fleeing an armed conflict and does not count on a case by case basis. To be able to apply for the emergency social housing in Blagoevgrad, refugees need to apply for refugee status and humanitarian status.

Nevertheless, local authorities have expressed their commitment to speeding up the process of integration. One of the first steps on that ladder is allowing the children to attend school and kindergartens.     

At the same time, the city will continue to accept material donations from the locals, redirecting them to those in need. They include packaged foods, clothes, shoes, bedsheets, hygiene products and etc. They also accept toys, school supplies, diapers and medical supplies.

Mayor Ilko Stoyanov greeted the refugee group personally. He was quoted in a press saying saying: “This is an exceptionally emotional moment. We are all human beings, and the most grievous thing is these kids have been sent here against their will by their fathers, who have stayed to defend their country. We will do everything in our power to ensure decent living conditions for the new arrivals.”



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