Monday, 14 March 2022

Refugee Crisis: Slavonian Heart for Ukrainian Families Initiative Doing Well

March the 14th, 2022 - With the Russian invasion of Ukraine having occurred just over two weeks ago now, Croatia has well and truly stepped up when it comes to handling the ongoing refugee crisis as people flee the war-torn Eastern European country. The Osijek-based Slavonian heart for Ukrainian families action plan is just one praiseworthy initiative.

As Novac/Jutarnji/Nikola Patkovic writes, just over two weeks have passed since the beginning of the Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, and quite a significant number of people from this war-torn country have fled in the Ukrainian refugee crisis to Osijek-Baranja County in Eastern Croatia. Their hosts have been organising for their reception since the beginning of the unjustified Russian invasion in order to alleviate the traumas they'll be bringing with them as much as possible, and now a step further has been taken.

Osijek-Baranja County, in cooperation with the non-governmental organisation Centre for Missing and Abused Children Osijek, has prepared an action plan called "Slavonian Heart for Ukrainian Families".

"During the first few days, the most important thing was to ensure the quality reception of Ukrainian refugees, provide them with accommodation, healthcare... and this has now become a routine. However, in parallel with the Centre for Missing and Abused Children, we launched an action plan with the aim of the faster and better integration of people from Ukraine, especially children, into the Croatian system. It's a plan for the integration of refugees based on the Croatian Government's decision to introduce temporary protection for displaced persons from Ukraine. Numerous institutions, civil society associations and healthcare institutions are involved,'' said Mato Lukic, Osijek-Baranja County's Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff of the Civil Protection Directorate there.

On behalf of the Centre for Missing and Abused Children, their president Tomislav Ramljak emphasised that the Centre brings together a large number of experts, primarily psychologists, who have extensive experience from the migrant crisis which took place back in 2015.

"Back then, we put a lot of effort into working with children on their integration into society and providing psychosocial assistance, and we'll apply this to an even greater extent in this refugee crisis. The emphasis is being primarily placed on working with children. So, on Monday at the Cultural Centre in Osijek, we'll start with something called children's corner, where the needs and condition of the children will be assessed, and they'll also start learning Croatian. Our wish is to be able to include these children in educational processes as soon as possible. Recovery and integration into our environment are the basic tasks. We want them to enter into a routine, because in times of crisis, routine means security,'' said Ramljak, while Osijek Deputy Mayor Dragan Vulin stressed that Osijek has readily made all of its resources available as the refugee crisis continues.

Some Ukrainian children have already started attending school, the refugees are provided with free public transport, theatre performances will be organised for them, and it is planned to soon enable the integration of these displaced Ukrainian children into local kindergartens and sports clubs.

Lukic made sure to thank the residents of Osijek-Baranja County who offered up their accommodation for refugees in vacant facilities, as well as those in which they live. He also thanked the many companies, banks included, that were involved in providing assistance, such as Saponia, which provided storage space with equipment and NK Osijek, which offered to pay for accommodation for Ukrainian refugee families.

For more on the ongoing Ukrainian conflict and refugee crisis, make sure to keep up with our politics section.

Friday, 11 March 2022

Ukrainian Artists Invited to Perform in New Production of Tosca in National Theatre in Zagreb

March 11th, 2022 - An announcement from the theatre states that they stand in solidarity with artists from Ukraine and consider it an obligation to provide an opportunity to Ukrainian colleagues to continue their artistic work.

The Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb recently cancelled a production of Eugene Onegin, an opera by Tchaikovsky whose premiere was scheduled for May 2022. Instead, the theatre will stage one of the most famous operas in history, Puccini’s Tosca, directed by Mario Pontiggio. The premiere is scheduled for May 27th, writes Jutarnji list.

Ukrainian conductor Alla Kulbaba from the National Opera in Kiev has been invited to orchestrate the performances in Tosca, and Ukrainian soloist Oksana Kramareva is also expected to perform. The Croatian National Theatre stated in their announcement that they ‘stand in solidarity with artists from Ukraine and consider it an obligation to provide an opportunity to Ukrainian colleagues to continue their artistic work’.

Widely known as one of the most spectacular operas ever written, the new production of Tosca will feature performances of opera singers Tomislav Mužek, Luciano Batinić and Valentina Fijačko Kobić of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, and Kristina Kolar of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc in Rijeka.

The Zagreb theatre originally planned for the opera Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky to be produced by a creative team from Russia, namely Mikhail Sinkevich, conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre, and director Yuri Laptev, Putin's former cultural adviser and holder of the title of People's Artist of the Russian Federation. In view of the war in Ukraine, the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb cancelled the plans they’ve been working on for the last year, envisaged as a project bringing renowned Russian artists to stage Pushkin's famous work in Zagreb. 


Thursday, 10 March 2022

Branko Roglic Doesn't Know How Russia Will Survive, Hopes They Go Bankrupt

March the 10th, 2022 - Branko Roglic is very well known name among business and investment circles across the Republic of Croatia, and he, one of the most wealthy Croats at the moment, has stated that he has no idea how Russia will survive the harsh sanctions placed on it, and that he hopes the country goes bankrupt.

As Jutarnji list/Novac HR writes, Branko Roglic, one of the most well off Croats who owns a company that operates in about 20 countries across Europe, including Russia and Ukraine, was a recent guest on Dnevnik Nova TV.

"We have 50 people over in Ukraine. We have 150 people in Russia, as that's a bigger company. At the moment we know that our employees have spoken out against the war and we paid those in Ukraine two salaries as soon as the Russian aggression against that country started, we also offered them relocation to Poland, to which they all said no and instead chose to remain in their homeland,'' Branko Roglic said at the beginning of the conversation.

"At the moment, almost all distribution chains have been cut off and this will affect product prices in every country and when it comes to Russia... I don't know how it will survive that," Branko Roglic said.

The biggest price increase, he said, will be for food products. Last year, a 30 percent increase in inflation was announced, and now he thinks that figure will be even higher. "The government is currently between a rock and a hard place. It can't help the economy much because it has to pay its own costs, it's not easy. No one has experienced blows to the government like Prime Minister Plenkovic has," Roglic commented.

He believes Putin will go on to ban exports to Europe. "They'll certainly do that. We're waiting for counter-sanctions. It isn't easy for the European Union either. Russia cannot last long," he said.

Russia's bankruptcy is predicted by some to occur on April the 15th, when they must repay their first loan to international institutions. "It would be good to get rid of another dictator and get another democratic country that will be a partner for Europe," Branko Roglic firmly believes.

"They thought they would just be able to walk easily through Ukraine and behave in such a way. That they would bring their man to the helm there - that didn't happen. It turned out that the Ukrainians are a much stronger opponent than they could have ever expected. This is a great advantage and opportunity for Europe to unite. I think that the war should end with negotiations and that the Russians should return to the borders of their own country," Branko Roglic added.

As for the question of the sensitivity of the Croatian economy to the ongoing war in Ukraine following Russia's recent unjustified invasion, Roglic believes we're very lucky to have Slavonia and the agricultural richness of that Easternmost part of the country.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Ukrainian Veterinary Students Can Complete Their Studies For Free in Zagreb

March 9, 2022 - In a huge gesture of solidarity with Ukrainian veterinary students, the Zagreb Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has arranged for Ukrainian students to complete their clinical practices and studies in Croatia free of charge.

Tomorrow will be two weeks since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The result is a nearly 14-day war that has claimed the lives of 3,393 Ukrainian civilians and injured 9,000 others. Additionally, it is reported that as of yesterday, more than two million Ukrainians have fled their country because of the war. Some, especially in the first days of the Russian invasion, crossed the borders by car, but the vast majority are women, children, and the elderly on foot. It is estimated that 1,204,000 Ukrainian civilians have arrived in Poland, 191,000 in Hungary, 141,000 in Slovakia, 83,000 in Moldova, 82,000 in Romania, 453 in Belarus, 99,000 in Russia, and 210,000 in other European countries. And the numbers of Ukrainian refugees, as well as dead and wounded, continue to rise as the Russian army advances.

With reduced or ruled out chances of intervention by other countries in the conflict, for fear of a world war, the rest of the world has chosen to isolate Russia with a large number of political and economic sanctions, which range from severe financial blockade, cutting off diplomatic ties, cancellation of cultural events in the country, and even the suspension of their sports teams or athletes in international or continental competitions.

But in addition to the sanctions against Russia, in these two weeks, a large number of efforts and gestures of solidarity to assist Ukrainian refugees were registered throughout the continent. Countless civilians have appeared at the borders to welcome Ukrainian refugees with food, clothing, and transportation. Some have even entered Ukraine to pick up those who are still walking, making it easier for them to reach the border.

In Croatia, centers have been set up that serve as temporary accommodation for refugees in cities such as Zagreb, Varaždin, Osijek, or Vukovar. Likewise, throughout the country, a large number of citizens have organized themselves to receive donations and coordinate their transportation to the border. Also noteworthy are the marches in support and solidarity towards Ukraine, which also call for peace and the end of the Russian invasion. Most notably, the one that took place on Saturday at Ban Jelačić square in Zagreb.

But one gesture, in particular, deserves recognition, not only for the gesture itself but because it opens the door to other ways of assisting the victims and those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And it is that, among the millions of Ukrainians who have had to leave their homes and their country, many are university students who have been forced to stop their studies. Thus, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zagreb has provided that Ukrainian veterinary students can complete their studies, validate their courses, and complete their clinical practices in the Croatian capital, free of charge and covering food expenses, and more.

Yesterday, in a public statement shared on its official website, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine announced:

''The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zagreb expresses its sincere support to the Ukrainian people in light of the aggression against the sovereign Republic of Ukraine. With great concern, we are following the news about the events of the war in our friendly country Ukraine and express our deep sorrow for the suffering of the Ukrainian people. We feel sincere sympathy for all Ukrainian students, fellow teachers, and the entire Ukrainian nation, and we wish for an end to all aggression on the territory of the Republic of Ukraine.

We would like to help the suffering Ukrainian people and offer Ukrainian veterinary students the possibility of continuing their studies at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zagreb.

This includes:

  1. Continuation of their education free of charge from the first to the sixth year, in Croatian or English.
  2. The possibility of completing parts of their course at our Faculty, as part of the student exchange program.
  3. Completion of clinical practice at our Faculty’s clinics including professional fieldwork.
  4. Free meals in the form of lunch and evening meals in the student restaurants.
  5. Provision of continuous support to the development of their careers, with academic and psychological counseling (Office for Career Development and Academic and Psychological Counselling +385 1 2390 330; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  6. An individual approach to resolving problems and classes missed as a result of the current situation.

Ukrainian veterinary students who would like to continue their studies at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zagreb should send an e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for further details.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Housing Ukrainian Refugees Could Alter Pre-Bankruptcy Saga for Motel Plitvice

March the 7th, 2022 - Motel Plitvice was in the news for its pre-bankruptcy saga until recent events began to unfold and the facility became a quarantine ''home'' for truck drivers infected with coronavirus, and now it has provided housing for Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country following the recent Russian invasion. Could these new-found roles go in its favour in the legal sense? Maybe.

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, precisely how the state will react to the new restructuring plan as a way out of the difficulties of the company owned by Motel Plitvice will soon be shown through the debtor's pre-bankruptcy proceedings.

That said, after the decision to mobilise Motel Plitvice and employees of the company in the function of accepting refugees from Ukraine (as a checkpoint), it's possible that it could become a new precedent in typical Croatian pre-bankruptcy practice.

This remains an open option due to the legal deadlines that threaten to form a break in the continuation of the procedure and in the context of the currently extraordinary circumstances due to Russia's aggression in Ukraine. These dire circumstances called for the mobilisation of Motel Plitvice in a period when the financial and operational restructuring plan was being made. None of the above could have been predicted, and it turns out that these unfolding circumstances are already affecting the normal procedure and the plan, as well as the debtor's financial status.

New ''dice'' are now being rolled in the pre-bankruptcy mosaic and they have erupted at a stage when the EU and Croatia are preparing a comprehensive response to the upcoming exodus of refugees from Ukraine. According to Crisis Commissioner Janez Lenarcic, the number of Ukrainian refugees, if we're to go by UN estimates, could exceed 10 million individuals.

The Republic of Croatia, in resolving the great humanitarian crisis, should accept 35-70,000 of these people and, by activating a temporary mechanism, ensure their proper and organised reception for a longer period, which includes integration into social and educational systems, as well as the labour market. One of the first checkpoints which was immediately activated as a transit solution is Motel Plitvice with about 40 employees, all of whom have now been made available to the state.

Croatian Motorways (HAC) has confirmed that they received information on the Order for the mobilisation of Motel Plitvice to organise the accommodation of refugees from Ukraine, which, among other things, stipulates that the implementation money is being provided from the state budget for 2022.

They pointed out that therefore, any legal activities regarding Motel Plitvice will not be performed as long as this mobilisation remains in force. However, they added that after this situation is dealt with, the activities on the reconstruction of the rest area will be continued.

Through HAC's evaluation of these new circumstances, the debtor can obviously hope for a break to resolve the pre-bankruptcy issues in which the creditors seem to be able to settle successfully based on extra income. In this procedure, out of 39 million kuna in the claims of unsecured creditors (there are no secured ones), about 33 million fall on the claim of HAC and close to 4 million on Plitvice National Park.

Time is running out despite these unprecedented circumstances because the deadline approved for the extension of the procedure expires on April the 11th, but according to the director of Motel Plitvice, Hrvoje Bilic, a solution will obviously be found in extraordinary circumstances when it comes to extending it further.

"According to the agreement, a legal solution is now being sought for a model that would ensure the continuation of business for some time," explained Bilic, adding that the workers were relieved because of it. The head of the Trade Union of Tourism and Services of Croatia, Eduard Andric, noted that the aim is to keep hold of staff regardless of the outcome of the pre-bankruptcy proceedings.

The next step is to expect a new intervention in the restructuring plan, and it was confirmed that a very generous offer will remain on the table to settle creditors in the amount of 60 percent (with a proposal to write off 40 percent) in 48 installments, with a one year grace period.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Russian-Owned Croatian Villas Line Adriatic Coast, What's Next For Them?

March the 7th, 2022 - Russian-owned Croatian villas are dotted all along the Croatian coastline, but with harsh sanctions in place and Croatia freezing all such properties related to the Russian regime, what's going to happen next with these luxurious properties?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the fact that Kvarner has been very interesting for rich Russian nationals for years now when it comes to buying real estate is proved by the fact that some of the most beautiful villas there are owned by Russians. Opatija, meaning the entire Opatija Riviera, is truly one of the most sought-after destinations for Russians in Croatia to buy luxury apartments and houses in attractive positions. This was confirmed by some of the large property agencies that have been doing business with Russian buyers for years, Novi list writes.

"When we talk about the number of Russian-owned Croatian villas and other properties, as far as foreign buyers are concerned, Russians aren't in the majority here, but they're in the majority in terms of the number of the most exclusive properties owned. We can say that in the period until 2015, there was a craze of wealthy Russian people coming for the most expensive villas in this part of Kvarner, along the stretch from Volosko to Medveja. In that period, they bought property as residential buyers, namely the most exclusive real estate, which was often located along the first row to the sea or with a beautiful view of all of Kvarner,'' said Vjeran Saina, senior agent of the Remax Real Estate Centre.

He explained that Russian citizens could initially buy real property only if they set up a company here in Croatia, but later the situation was simplified and today they can acquire ownership of property defined by the law of reciprocity, ie reciprocity between Croatia and Russia as individual buyers.

Speaking about buyers from the Russian market, Saina said that in fact, after making a purchase, the Russians, as a rule, did not stay long in their newly acquired villas. In conversations they often mentioned that there is a lack of quality content in the Kvarner area, such as shopping and nightlife, which forces them to spend their money, for example, in neighbouring Italy.

As for the interests of Russian buyers, this real estate agent explained that after 2015, the wave of them buying residential real estate in Croatia subsided.

"Competing countries such as Montenegro, Cyprus, Spain, allowed Russians to enter the country without hindrance, but also through other benefits. For example, when buying real estate in Montenegro above the value of 500,000 euros, buyers from the Russian market get the right to permanent residence. Over recent years we've noticed an increase in the interest of Russian buyers in investing. They're interested in large investments in the area of ​​Liburnia. Several projects were successful, but we could also notice some not so successful investments, which were still too big for our area in terms of planning and implementation, and they were simply not well received by the market. Given the current political situation, we haven't noticed that the Russians are turning to Croatia for the sale of the real estate they own in Kvarner. That property has not been frozen and the Russians aren't expressing concern,'' Saina told Novi list, adding that several Russian investors have been operating in Croatia for many years now and said recently that they were doing business as before.

"As agents who are part of the international brand Remax, we're in constant communication with our colleagues, but also sellers and investors from abroad, and we are waiting for the situation to unfold further," concluded Vjeran Sain in reference to Russian-owned Croatian villas and more.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 6 March 2022

Croatia Has Taken in Over 2,000 Ukraine Refugees, Plenković Says

ZAGREB, 6 March 2022 - Croatia has received more than 2,000 Ukrainian refugees and does not plan to stop offering assistance, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Sunday.

The whole system which the government has established to receive Ukrainian refugees is "ready", he said in Dubai, where he attended the marking of Croatian National Day at Expo 2020 and visited the Ukrainian Pavilion.

"It's time we show big solidarity and we are indeed doing it," Plenković added.

Commenting on the Kremlin's claims that President Vladimir Putin has requested a list of the states which have imposed sanctions on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, he said Croatia stood behind its actions regarding Moscow.

"We made our decisions, we are part of the European Union and NATO, part of those countries which respect international law and order and respect other states' borders. We stand behind our decisions, independently of what the list will be like," Plenković said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 5 March 2022

Hundreds Gathered in Ban Jelačić Square in Support of Ukraine

March 5, 2022 - A gathering was held in Zagreb today as a show of solidarity and support of Ukraine, nine days after the Russian invasion started. A large number of people were present in Ban Jelačić Square, waving Ukrainian and Croatian flags. The Ambassador of Ukraine spoke at the gathering with an emotional message.

As an expression of solidarity and support of Ukraine and Ukrainian people due to Russia's aggression against that country, a rally organized by the Croatian Helsinki Committee (HHO) and the Union of Ukrainians of the City of Zagreb began in Zagreb's main square in the presence of several hundred citizens, reports Ukrainian Ambassador Vasily Kirilich spoke at the gathering, who spoke through tears about Russia's aggression against his homeland, especially emphasizing the attack on the largest European nuclear power plant, Zaporozhye.

"It's not a war anymore, it's genocide. I ask NATO to stop this devil. If we do not stop today without being late tomorrow, I am asking Europe, the world, and NATO to close the skies in Ukraine and save thousands of lives. No time to think and make statements. It is time to act.", Kirilic said. The Ambassador thanked the Republic of Croatia, the Government, and the Prime Minister. Gathered citizens greeted his speech chanting: "Ukraine, Ukraine."

Several banners were seen at the gathering. On the fence in front of the stage on Ban Jelačić Square on the Ukrainian national flag is the message "I stand with Ukraine", "#stoprussianagression", and songs by Ukrainian bands are played on the loudspeaker. More citizens who came to express their support for the attacked country came to the Square in robes or carrying Ukrainian and Croatian national flags.

Some of them carry banners written in Croatian, Ukrainian, and English, which read, among others, "Glory to the Heroes of Ukraine" and "Glory to Ukraine", "Let's Help Ukraine", "Help Ukraine to save Europe, establish no-fly zone!", “Stop the war in Ukraine!”, “Pray for Ukraine”, “Stop Putin, stop the war”, “Stop the war, save Europe”, “Ukraine is the heart of Europe”.

A leaflet printed in Croatian and English was distributed to those gathered, which reads - We want freedom! Help us realize the dream of our freedom. Russia is just brutally bombing our cities. Putin denies and denies the existence of the Ukrainian nation, we just want freedom and live as free people. Please support Ukraine and our people.

Announcing the rally in Zagreb, Croatian Helsinki Committee (HHO) President Ivan Zvonimir Cicak on Wednesday called on leaders of other cities and counties to join in supporting Ukraine with their rallies, which will take place in several cities - Split, Vukovar, Rijeka, and Pula.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

Saturday, 5 March 2022

Anica Djamic: Croatian Ambassador to Ukraine Who Refused to Leave

March the 5th, 2022 - Who exactly is Anica Djamic, the Croatian Ambassador to Ukraine who refused to leave the besieged capital of Kiev during the first week of the Russian invasion?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Anica Djamic is one of the few Western diplomats who chose to remain in the Ukrainian capital for such a long time following the Russian attack and regularly reported on the tragic unfolding situation in the country, despite the fact that Kiev was under the constant threat of Russian rocket attacks.

Fifteen days ago, before the direct Russian invasion of Ukraine, there were about one hundred foreign ambassadors residing in the City of Kiev, but after the attack they began to leave and only a dozen of them remained, including Croatian Ambassador Anica Djamic.

Anica Djamic flatly refused to leave Kiev until all Croatian citizens in the capital of that time were safe, but on Monday, PM Andrej Plenkovic decided she had to leave the city and report on the invasion from a safer place. "Given the deteriorating security situation in Kiev and the attacks on the Ukrainian capital, I instructed our ambassador Anica Djamic to leave the city," Plenkovic told parliament, adding that she was, at that point, on her way to Lviv, where she would stay and continue to perform her duties, help Croatian citizens and monitor the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

The name of the Croatian Ambassador to Kiev became known to the public because of her courageous speech, her talks with Croatian citizens in Ukraine and her regular reporting from Kiev despite the extremely dangerous situation there.

Three days ago, for example, she appeared on HRT's show Dobro jutro, Hrvatska/Good morning, Croatia from a shelter. "It's the fourth night we've spent in the shelters. An alert was issued four times from last night to this morning. Since we receive warnings that there is a serious danger of attack, citizens are urged to stay in their homes, and when the sirens sound, they go down to the shelters. These shelters are very often ordinary basements, but it should be said that the city has opened up metro stations to be used as shelters, so entrance to the metro is free,'' said Ambassador Djamic for HRT.

"From last night until this morning, the alarm sounded four times. We heard the detonations. It has become an every day thing for us now. Of course, it's smarter to remain in the places in which we feel the most protected,'' she said.

At the end of the conversation, Anica Djamic said that she was in Ukraine and that her place was now there. "If there's a need to leave, then we'll look at the roads," concluded Djamic, who then said she did not want to leave Ukraine while there were Croatian citizens still in the country, reports Index.

Mesic: She was a good analyst

Not much was previously known about Ambassador Anica Djamic, but she is an experienced diplomat who worked in the Office of the President back in the mid-1990s, where she was an assistant foreign policy adviser. Prior to going to Ukraine, she was Ambassador to Sweden from 2014 to 2018. Since 2019, she has been the Ambassador to Ukraine.

From 2000 to 2005, former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic appointed her as an adviser on European integration. He said for the 24sata publication that she was one of the most conscientious advisers he'd ever had, adding that she was very educated and spoke multiple languages.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Companies Supplying Accommodation, Croatian Buses Picking Up Refugees

March the 3rd, 2022 - Croatian buses and Croatian companies are all making themselves available with either free transport for Ukrainian refugees or with food and accommodation offers when they arrive in the country.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak/Lucija Spiljak writes, the refugee wave of, at this moment in time, half a million people seeking refuge due to the war in Ukraine has activated all institutional mechanisms in the countries of the European Union, and companies are increasingly involved in helping refugees. Croatian buses are also busy transporting those who have fled their country.

Many Croatian companies have become involved in helping refugees with donations of money, materials or the services they provide. In the first step, the help of Croatian buses who can remove refugees from war zones is very important.

Free to Poland

The Association of Croatian Bus Lines announced that they are ready to make part of their fleet with more than 1,000 Croatian buses available. As Drazen Divjak, director of Arriva, explained, Croatian buses are ready to engage their services and drivers for the transport of refugees from the Ukrainian border areas to the safety of the Republic of Croatia.

"We want to give our contribution in manpower and vehicles because it's our responsibility, but also the only way in which refugees can be organised and efficiently transferred from the Ukrainian border to designated locations in Croatia," said Divjak.

They say from FlixBus that their teams are working tirelessly to come to the aid of Ukrainian refugees and offer free transportation across the border in the direction of Poland to all those who need it.

"Several more refugee buses have been added on the lines connecting Ukraine and Poland. In addition, we're additionally transporting all the necessary food and equipment to those in need. Our operational teams are at the border crossings to provide on-site support,'' said Ante Grbesa, the director of the FlixBus CEE South Region.

Humanitarian actions for Ukraine were also launched by Caritas, the Croatian Red Cross and the NGO ADRA Croatia, which made their human resources available and also raised funds. Social media has also been a source of help in the form of offers of accommodation to donations, food and beyond.

The Facebook group "SOS UA Ukraine" has numerous minute-by-minute posts in which Croatian residents are offering transportation and travel services directly to Ukraine in order to transport as many vulnerable Ukrainians as possible. They organise accommodation and all necessities. Additionally, the non-profit organisation Translators without Borders has announced that there is a growing need for translators who speak Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Romanian, Moldovan or German, to whom they have appealed.

7.5 million children in Ukraine are also facing a crisis and danger, so UNICEF is trying to step up its efforts to provide all the necessary humanitarian aid, as well as psychosocial support for children. Regina Castillo, Head of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, sent an appeal to Croatian residents, companies and the media to help the children of Ukraine with their donations.

Constant contact

The Croatian IT company Span, which also has an office in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, which is currently under siege, has expressed great concern, and they are in constant contact with 32 of their Ukrainian colleagues.

“Span immediately activated its crisis team, which aims to help our employees and their families in the most efficient way possible. This primarily includes assistance in reception, transportation, accommodation in Croatia, psychological assistance as well as assistance when it comes to bureaucratic affairs,'' they explained from Span.

Just like after the devastating earthquake in Banovina at the end of December 2020, chefs from the initiative "The chef is cooking at home" became active to help refugees arriving in Zagreb. Brodosplit provided a temporary home and food for two of the seven Ukrainian workers employed by the DIV Group company who arrived yesterday from Lviv and Ternopil.

Croatian companies are also trying to provide Ukrainians with a place to work when they arrive in Croatia. As such, the Bruketa & Zinic & Gray agency announced that it could provide office space for four Ukrainian designers/illustrators and help them find accommodation in Zagreb.

The Ministry of Tourism is also taking care of the accommodation of refugees, and Minister Nikolina Brnjac held a meeting with hoteliers recently during which she invited private Croatian renters/landlords who want to help reluctant Ukrainians to contact them with their options and offers by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more, check out our politics section.

Page 5 of 7