Bulgaria has begun evaluating the condition of bomb shelters in the country as Russia's war with Ukraine intensifies sending shockwaves across Europe.
Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov briefed the parliament over the shelters as lawmakers requested the government to provide information in this regard, saying that there were a total of 704 shelters left from the Soviet era.
However, only 31 of these shelters are in good condition and 187 of them are useable.
The rest are either in bad shape or unusable.
Also, 269 shelters were privatized as the country has not faced a war in the last several decades.
Civil Defense head Nikolay Nikolov, also speaking at the parliament, said the metro stations in the capital Sofia, which has a population of 1.48 million, could provide shelter for at least half a million people.
Prime Minister Kiril Petkov had earlier said the war in Ukraine was not expected to spread to Bulgaria, however, the biggest risk for Bulgarians was safety of nuclear power plants.
Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, has drawn international condemnation, led to financial sanctions on Moscow, and spurred an exodus of global companies from Russia.
At least 474 civilians have been killed and 864 others injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war on Feb. 24, according to UN figures.
More than 2 million people have also fled to neighboring countries as of Tuesday, the UN Refugee Agency said.
*Writing and contribution by Ali Murat Alhas in Ankara.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.