Europe, Russia-Ukraine War

Bulgaria to stop supporting Ukrainian refugees on May 30

They should earn a living, pay rent and other living expenses like other citizens, says Tourism Minister Prodanov

Talha Ozturk and Ihvan Radoykov  | 21.04.2022 - Update : 21.04.2022
Bulgaria to stop supporting Ukrainian refugees on May 30


Bulgaria announced on Thursday that it would stop humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian refugees in the country by May 30, insisting that they should earn a living and pay rent and other living expenses like other citizens.

"We have accommodated and cared for them for three months. Now they must enter the labor market, find housing, pay rent, and live like everyone else," Bulgarian Tourism Minister Hristo Prodanov told a public broadcaster.

"We have shown humanity to these people escaping the war, we have helped them," he told Bulgarian National Television (BNT), adding that he will ask hoteliers who supported the sheltering of Ukrainian refugees to start charging rent after May 31.

Prodanov said the government will support facilities for Ukrainian children so that they can be taken care of while their parents work.

"Of the conversations with 6,000 people, 90% want to start working immediately in the hotel and restaurant sector,” he stated, adding that it would be fair for Ukrainians to find work.

"Our state's assistance to Ukrainians is set to expire at the end of May. After a three-month period of humanism and understanding, these refugees should begin working," he said.

Prodanov also stated that state expenditures for immigrant housing may approach €25 million ($27.2 million) and that he would seek compensation from the European Union for these expenditures.

Some Bulgarians, however, responded angrily to Prodanov's statement.

On social media, people began a petition calling for his resignation.

Since Russia began its war on Feb. 24, the civilian death toll in Ukraine has climbed to 2,224, while 2,897 others have been injured, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be much higher.

More than 5 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with 7.7 million more internally displaced, said the UN refugee agency.

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