Ukrainian refugee wave reaches peak in Bulgaria, says refugee agency chair

The refugee agency chair said that a total of 297,000 Ukrainian citizens have passed through Bulgaria, and 100,000 Ukrainians are still on Bulgarian territory. [EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU]

The number of Ukrainian refugees entering Bulgaria has reached its peak, Refugee Agency Chair Mariana Tosheva told state television BNT in an interview on Monday.

In Bulgaria, most Ukrainian refugees are staying in state-paid hotels in cities across the Black Sea coast, though many refugees have found shelter on their own.

However, in recent days, many Ukrainians have been returning to peaceful areas in Ukraine, sometimes with more Ukrainians leaving than entering Bulgaria. For example, on Tuesday (24 May), 3,076 left Bulgaria, while only 901 entered.

The refugee agency chair said that a total of 297,000 Ukrainian citizens have passed through Bulgaria, and 100,000 Ukrainians are still on Bulgarian territory.

“I think we have reached the peak of refugees,” said Tosheva, noting that Bulgaria could still be hit by a new wave of refugees, depending on the development of the war in Ukraine.

However, most Ukrainians in Bulgaria intend to stay and find work, surveys by the government have found.

The Bulgarian government will pay €20 per day for food and accommodation for Ukrainian refugees until 31 May, after which they will only receive €7.50 per day.

However, 40% of Bulgarian hoteliers who accommodated refugees since the start of the war said they would continue accommodating, while many hoteliers have expressed readiness to hire Ukrainians on official employment contracts for the summer season.

Meanwhile, 12,000 Ukrainians have also announced they will benefit from state-funded hotel accommodation on the Black Sea coast.

Some 30,000 refugees are unable to stay and need to be relocated. The Bulgarian government has provided accommodation in government buildings in the interior of the country, and transport will be organised by the transport ministry.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe