Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Over 6,800 Ukrainian Children Find Shelter in Croatia

ZAGREB, 1 June 2022 - More than 6,800 children have arrived in Croatia from war-torn Ukraine and 182 are being accommodated in Hotel Zagreb in Duilovo, Split, Labour and Social Policy Minister Marin Piletić said on Wednesday while visiting a group of refugee children located in the hotel.

These are children aged between 8 and 16 and mostly play for the Shakhtar football club or some other Ukrainian clubs whose stay was arranged by a former prominent Croatian football player Dario Srna, it was said during Piletić's visit.

"We thank everyone who is helping these children. We wish these children ther return to their homes as soon as possible but we are also prepared to integrate them into our society," the minister said.

"The government stands with Ukraine, politically, economically and emotionally because we experienced that in the period from 1991 to 1995," he said.

Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Blaženko Boban underscored there are 3,064 Ukrainian refugees located in the county, mostly in tourist facilities and private apartments.

"The tourist season is coming and together in cooperation with the Civil Protection administration we are finding ways to accommodate refugees so that tourism facilities can be put to use during the summer tourist season," said Boban.

UNHCR representative in Croatia, Anna Rich thanked Croatia for establishing a comprehensive legislative approach and for accepting and caring for Ukrainian refugees.

The majority of refugees fleeing from Ukraine are women and children and we call for caution regarding the risk of gender conditioned violence, people trafficking and grave risks to the protection given the profile of the population and unstable situation, said Rich.

She added that the UNHCR supports government efforts including those of the Croatian government to increase preventative measures and protection against exploitation and abuse including raising awareness and providing information to refugees.

Children's ombudsman Helenca Pirnat Dragičević underscored that the Convention on the Rights of the Child commits all countries to protecting children's rights, particularly vulnerable groups like children from Ukraine because of the war.

She added that online access has been arranged for children located in Hotel Zagreb so they can follow school lessons being conducted in Ukraine.

CZ Director Damir Trut informed that so far 18,899 refugees from Ukraine have been registered in Croatia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Slightly More Than 17,300 Ukrainian Refugees Have Arrived in Croatia, Says Minister

ZAGREB, 11 May 2022 - Just over 17,300 Ukrainian refugees, of whom 85% are women and children, have arrived in Croatia so far, Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said on Wednesday.

Speaking in an interview with Croatian Radio, Božinović said that at the very start a clear and transparent system for refugees was established and that a temporary mechanism of protection was activated, providing the refugees with all rights, including integration in the labour market.

"I'm pleased to say that the entire process has been free of any problems and difficulties. I believe that the Ukrainians are satisfied with and grateful for the treatment they have been given in Croatia," he added.

Božinović also spoke about the difference between Ukrainian refugees and migrants arriving from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

"Despite the war going on, all Ukrainian refugees have entered Croatia via border crossings with personal documents, unlike migrants who practically never come to border crossings from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and do not have personal documents, which is a very important difference," he said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

15,879 Displaced Persons From Ukraine Enter Croatia To Date

ZAGREB, 28 April 2022 - Since the start of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, a total of 15,879 displaced persons have entered Croatia, including 215 unaccompanied children, state secretaries told a thematic meeting of the parliamentary Gender Equality Committee on Thursday.

The meeting dealt with the reception, needs and treatment of Ukrainian refugees, most of whom are women and children as exceptionally vulnerable groups with specific needs. Croatia has the capacity to receive more refugees and displaced persons from Ukraine than the initial estimate of 20,000, it was said.

The state secretary for immigration, citizenship and administration at the Ministry of the Interior (MUP), Žarko Katić, recalled that MUP was resolving the status of Ukrainian refugees and approving temporary protection. The Civil Protection Directorate has provided accommodation for refugees in 40 accommodation units and three reception centres in Varaždin, Osijek and Gospić, he said.

A total of 1,766 people are staying in collective accommodation throughout Croatia. MUP has engaged about ten interpreters to assist police.

About 600 people have registered to provide accommodation for displaced Ukrainians and their premises have been examined and determined as appropriate and safe for these people to prevent any possible wrongdoing to their detriment, said Katić.

MUP: No incidents of people smuggling reported as yet

Katić said that MUP has not identified any case of people smuggling or sexual abuse or abuse of children among Ukrainian refugees. He underscored that inspections are being conducted regularly at places where refugees are received and accommodated, particularly those providing accommodation for vulnerable groups, and that MUP acts on any possible reports.

"The most vulnerable are unaccompanied minors who have been accommodated in hotels in Zagreb and Split, where about 90 young Ukrainian football players from the Shakhtar club have been accommodated as have young yachting competitors while about 24 minors have been placed in a dormitory in Zadar, " he said.

He added that to date ID cards have been issued to 10,016 displaced persons from Ukraine while the others are still considering whether they wish to apply for temporary protection, which enables them to exercise all rights in Croatia, including employment.

So far 600 Ukrainian citizens have found jobs through HZZ

The state secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Dragan Jelić, recalled that all displaced persons are eligible for a one-off allowance of up to HRK 3,500 per family and up to 2,500 for singles and that so far 1,400 such allowances have been paid out. Unemployed displaced persons are entitled to HRK 1,000 a month, Jelić recalled.

Currently, we have 215 children without a parental legal representative in the system and most of them have come with trusted people who are being checked by social welfare centres which also appoint guardians for unaccompanied children. Persons with disabilities have been provided with accommodation as well, he recalled.

Jelić said that 650 Ukrainian nationals had found jobs through the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) and about 500 requests have been registered from employers seeking workers.

He added that 545 Ukrainian citizens are currently looking for work and more than half of them have university qualifications.

1,291 Ukrainian students included in the Croatian education system

The state secretary at the Ministry of Science and Education, Tomislav Paljak, said that since the war started in Ukraine 1,291 students from Ukraine have been included in Croatia's education system in 434 schools.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Ukraine Ambassador, County Head Meet Ukraine Refugee Families

ZAGREB, 17 April 2022 - Ukrainian Ambassador to Croatia Vasyl Kyrylych and Lika-Senj County head Ernest Petry met in Gospić on Sunday with representatives of the services providing for refugees from Ukraine, thanking everyone, and participated in an Easter lunch with Ukrainian families at Hotel Ana.

The level of reception of Ukrainians in Lika (region) is high in every respect and refugee children go to school there, the ambassador said. It is not just nice words and gestures, but the friendly and family reception of refugees from Ukraine due to the Russian aggression, he added.

"The strongest word I bring you is thanks. I can confirm that Ukrainians in Croatia, in Osijek, in Lika and elsewhere, have been welcomed warmly, which makes us happy because in this sad moment of cries it means a lot to receive such a hand of support as the refugees are receiving from Croatia," the ambassador said.

There are more than 600 Ukrainian refugees in Lika-Senj County and nearly 700 have passed through the reception centre in Gospić. Some of them have been accommodated in Karlovac County.

Forty-nine refugees have been accommodated in Gospić's Hotel Ana and another 97 elsewhere in the town.

Prefect Petry said the county was prepared to take in more refugees, "depending on the need of the Ukrainian population." To date, he added, 15 Ukrainians have found employment.

Andrii Melnychenko, the father of a family with four children, said they felt at home in Gospić because Croatians "have welcomed us beautifully, with a big heart."

He said their 11-month-old daughter had to be taken to Zagreb for an emergency operation and was now doing fine. "I am forever grateful that we received this help, for free even and of great quality."

On his and the behalf of all Ukrainian refugees in Gospić, whether Orthodox or Greek Catholic, he said they all prayed to the same God for peace, peace and family happiness.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Nearly 1,000 Ukraine Pupils in Croatian Schools Mastering Biggest Hurdle, Language

ZAGREB, 17 April 2022 - Almost 1,000 Ukrainian children have been enrolled in Croatian kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and their biggest problem is the language, but they are mastering Croatian quickly so as to integrate into the new environment as well as possible

Of the 983 children who have arrived in Croatia due to the war in Ukraine, 838 have been enrolled in primary, 64 in secondary schools, and 80 in kindergartens.

To date, 116 elementary school pupils have been enrolled in 42 Zagreb schools, 91 in 30 schools in Split-Dalmatia County, 81 in schools in Lika-Senj County, 73 in 22 schools in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, and 67 in schools Varaždin County.

Speaking to Hina, Dražena Aračić, headmistress of a primary school in Korenica, Lika-Senj County where 55 Ukrainian children have been enrolled, said everything was being done so they could fit as well as possible in curricular and extracurricular activities and feel welcome first and foremost.

She said they were traumatised by war and separated from their families, so the education ministry approved the school's request to hire a counsellor.

Goranka Štefančić, headmistress of a primary school in Varaždinske Toplice, Varaždin County with 20 Ukrainian pupils, said they had assimilated very well and that one could not see that they came from a war zone.

The school's teachers have taken a free online course in Ukrainian, she told Hina, adding that as of 16 March the Ukrainian pupils are fully included in regular classes, and that numerous donors have provided them with the things they need for school.

Davor Juriša, headmaster of a primary school in Kraljevica, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County which has nine Ukrainian pupils, said that in preparing for their arrival, the school consulted with representatives of the Red Cross and other relevant institutions so that integration could be as simple as possible.

Other pupils have welcomed them very well, he told Hina.

All three principals said the biggest barrier in the integration of Ukrainian pupils was the Croatian language. Aračić said it was a little easier for those who spoke English, but added that they were learning Croatian pretty quickly.

Štefanić said learning Croatian was held every day for two hours at her school and that the pupils were making quick progress.

Due to the situation, the school allows pupils to use mobile phones during classes so they can use translation apps in order to communicate, she added.

At the Kraljevica school, Ukrainian pupils learn Croatian twice a week.

In order to further their integration, Ukrainian children are included in extracurricular activities, from art workshops and learning other languages to sports.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Plenković Wishes Happy Easter to Displaced Ukrainians

ZAGREB, 17 April 2022 - After attending Easter mass on Sunday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković wished a happy Easter to everyone, notably to the displaced Ukrainians who were at the service.

"This is a time when we can all together examine in peace what we do, our actions, our decisions, try and collect our thoughts and be even better, towards others, towards those most in need," he said.

"I'm pleased that the displaced from Ukraine were also at mass today, mainly mothers with their children, which once again speaks to how big the tragedy is which this Easter and for more than 50 days now has befallen the Ukrainian people. That's why I'm pleased that Croatia is once again showing a big heart and giving great support to the Ukrainian people and those who, in these difficult circumstances, have found a temporary home in Croatia," the prime minister said.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 4 April 2022

Croatia Has Taken in 11,974 Ukrainian Refugees So Far

4 April 2022 - Since 25 February, 11,974 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Croatia, and most of them are in individual accommodation, the government said at its website dedicated to the Ukraine crisis.

Of the arrivals, 5,832 or 48.7% are women, 1,619 or 13.5% are men and 4,523 or 37.8% are children.

Most of them are staying in individual accommodation, 1,498 are in collective accommodation and 16 in private accommodation.

The Civil Protection Directorate has mobilised 34 facilities for collective accommodation, three reception centres, and one catering and one transport company to provide for the refugees.

According to UNHCR, by the end of March more than 10.5 million people were displaced internally in Ukraine or left the country as refugees, which is around one quarter of the country's population. The UN agency estimates a total of 13 million people in Ukraine urgently need humanitarian assistance.

Sunday, 3 April 2022

Considerable Number of Ukrainian Refugees Might Stay in Croatia for Good

ZAGREB, 3 April 2022 - Over 11,000 Ukrainians have found refuge in Croatia after their country was invaded by Russia on 24 February, and a considerable number of them might stay for good, according to estimates by the Ukrainian community in Croatia.

According to the United Nations, more than 4 million people have fled Ukraine in the five weeks since the start of the war and about 6.5 million have been internally displaced. That is over 10 million people, or about a quarter of the country's population, which is the most massive migration in modern European history.

Viktor Filima, a representative of the Ukrainian community in Zagreb, told Hina in an interview that Poland would most likely take in all the displaced persons, but that it was questionable whether it would be able to physically endure the pressure.

Croatia has expressed its intention to take care of 20,000 displaced persons, and can expect more arrivals. Filima said that a considerable number of refugees would stay even if the war were to end soon because it would take time before Ukraine rebuilts its damaged infrastructure.

According to Filima, the refugees' primary wish is to return to their homes as soon as possible, but many of them are not aware that they will have to stay longer because their cities and infrastructure have been razed to the ground.

Filima said that Croatia had proved to be well organised as it had taken care of all the refugees.

The first migrations of Ukrainians to Croatia began at the time of Austria-Hungary 130 years ago. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian community in Croatia was between two and three thousand strong, and now their number could increase tenfold.

30 per cent of refugees highly educated

Representatives of the Ukrainian community see potential in the migration, saying that Croatia could benefit from Ukrainian refugees because 30% of them are highly educated people, including medical doctors who are in short supply in Croatia.

The head of the Ukrainian community in Zagreb, Marija Meleško, who studied the Croatian language and literature in Kyiv and has been living in Croatia for 15 years, says that refugees are not aware that they will stay here longer than they expect.

Some of the refugees who arrived in the first wave have applied for temporary protection and some of those who have obtained temporary protection cards have already enrolled their children in school. Only a small number of refugees have expressed their desire to work because they first need to learn basic Croatian and meet other requirements for integration into the labour market.

Meleško said the majority of refugees were women and children because men below 60 years of age must not leave Ukraine, with the exception of parents with children with disabilities or with several children.

"Before thinking of how to find work, mothers first need to settle their status and enrol their children in school or kindergarten," she said. Another problem is the recognition of qualifications for work in a regulated profession, which takes time, especially for medical doctors. Ukraine is not a member of the EU, and in order to get a job in Croatia, doctors first need to have their degree recognised and learn Croatian, she added, hoping that this process will be accelerated.

Regulating status is not a problem because displaced persons only need to apply for temporary protection via the bilingual website Croatia for Ukraine, which also provides other information. With a temporary protection card, they can exercise their rights to education, health insurance and all other rights enjoyed by Croatian nationals.

Nearly half of the refugee population are children, many of whom have been enrolled in kindergarten or school, and they will not have trouble integrating, Filima said. "If the war continues, they will make friends and get to know their neighbours. Some will enrol in university or get a job, and when they see that they have nowhere to go back to, a good many of them will probably stay."

Filima believes that the integration process will not be a problem because the two languages are similar. "The Croatian language is Ukrainian written in Latin", and there are also cultural and visual similarities between Ukraine and Croatia, he said. He also believes that it will be easier for Ukrainians to continue their lives in Croatia because of Croatia's experience with the war from the 1990s.

Meleško said she had noticed that the refugees could feel the support and sympathy in Croatia. "What they are getting, the understanding of the situation in which they have found themselves, because Croatians themselves have gone through similar ordeals in the past, is creating a positive atmosphere of hospitality and giving them the feeling that they can be part of this society."

Meleško believes that children will fit into the education system very quickly and will have no trouble learning the language.

According to official information from Saturday, the majority of Ukrainian refugees in Croatia, namely 10,292 out of 11,791, are in individual accommodation. Most of them are accommodated in continental Croatia,  and to a lesser extent in Dalmatia and Istria.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 1 April 2022

Property Owners Can Now Create a Ukraine Refugee Rate Through

April 1, 2022 - As a support measure for those who have fled Ukraine due to the Russian invasion, has enabled the Ukraine Refugee Rate, a special rate that allows its partners to offer accommodations for free or at a significantly lower price to Ukrainian refugees.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 this year, has forced more than 4 million Ukrainian citizens to leave their homes and cross borders to seek asylum in neighboring countries. The majority of refugees are women and children, who have found a very warm reception at the borders of countries like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova, and more. As of March 30, 11,200 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Croatia. Although many have had to stay temporarily in refugee centers in different parts of the country, there are those who are looking for alternative accommodation such as apartments and hotels.

In order to make it easier for refugees from Ukraine to find accommodation in the country where they are, as well as to allow property owners a way to help them, the company has made available to all those who rent their properties on their platform the Ukraine Refugee Rate option. Thus, the accommodations can now create a special rate, exclusive for Ukrainian refugees, that allows property owners to offer accommodation for free or at a significantly lower price to them.

''We want to work together to help refugees from Ukraine find a place to stay via our platform'', reads the email sent by ''If you’re able to help, you can now create a Ukraine Refugee Rate to support people in need. This special rate allows you to offer accommodations for free or at a significantly lower price''. Additionally, points out that they will waive commission for these stays.

Among the conditions to apply this special rate, indicates the following:

''We appreciate any support that you’re able to offer. We want to make this process as smooth as possible for you and the people you’re helping:

The Ukraine Refugee Rate is only available to people leaving Ukraine who make a last-minute booking (0–3 days before check-in). This condition is designed to help you better manage the number of rooms you can commit to this effort.

Given the challenging circumstances people leaving Ukraine are facing, the Ukraine Refugee Rate will offer them control and flexibility, allowing them to cancel for free anytime''. has also prepared a FAQ article with more details about the Ukraine Refugee Rate, in order to clear doubts about this special rate for both Ukrainian citizens and property owners.

Which partners can offer a special rate to refugees from Ukraine?

At the moment, partners in the following countries can create this rate: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

The special rate currently applies for bookings and stays until June 30, 2022.

Who can book a stay using this rate?

This special rate enables partners to offer people leaving Ukraine a place to stay for free or at a significantly reduced rate. When your guests arrive, we recommend that you ask them for some form of identification document to confirm that the rate was booked by eligible guests.

Bear in mind that people may have had to leave their homes with little time to prepare. We recommend that you accept passports, ID cards, or any other form of documentation that shows your guests were residing in Ukraine.

You can cancel reservations within reason should you find that this rate wasn’t booked by eligible guests.

Rate details and cancellation policies

Given the incredibly challenging circumstances people leaving Ukraine are facing, you can only use the Ukraine Refugee Rate in conjunction with Fully Flexible rates. This allows the people you’re helping to have as much control and flexibility over their booking as possible. They’ll be able to cancel anytime without charges. If you haven’t already set up a Fully Flexible rate for your property, do this before creating a Ukraine Refugee Rate.

When you create this rate, you can choose to either:

  • Offer a discount of between 50% and 99% on your usual rates, or
  • Offer accommodations for free. In this case, for technical reasons we’ll display the price of the room or unit as EUR 0.01 (before any taxes and fees) or the equivalent in your local currency, but your guests won’t need to pay anything.

If taxes or other fees apply to the booking based on relevant laws and regulations in your country, handle these as you normally would since they're beyond our control. However, we do encourage that you waive any additional booking-related fees, such as cleaning fees.

How the reservation process works

This rate currently applies for bookings and stays until June 30, 2022. Last-minute bookings can be made from zero to three days before check-in, and for stays of up to 30 days. This condition is designed to help prevent double-bookings at your property and to ensure space for those who need it.

To best support these guests, we encourage you to collect payment (where applicable) during check-in using a pay at property policy. If that's not possible, we'll support payment options for you. Because you can only use the Ukraine Refugee Rate in conjunction with Fully Flexible rates, these guests will be able to cancel anytime without charges or no-show fees. Of course, will waive our commission fee for these reservations.

Creating this rate

If your property is eligible to create a Ukraine Refugee Rate and you’d like to offer people leaving Ukraine a place to stay, here’s how to get started:

  1. Log in to the Extranet
  2. Click Promotions
  3. In the Humanitarian aid section, click Assist next to Ukraine Refugee Rate
  4. Select whether you’d like to offer a percentage discount on your usual rates or offer accommodation for free
  5. If you choose to offer a percentage discount, enter a percentage between 50% and 99%
  6. Select the rate plans and rooms or units you’d like the rate to apply to
  7. Click Review
  8. Review the details you’ve entered, then click Activate

Canceling ineligible bookings

If a guest books the Ukraine Refugee Rate but isn’t eligible for it, you’ll need to cancel the reservation. You can do so by sending the guest a cancellation request with a note explaining that you believe the booking was made in error. Alternatively, you can contact our Customer Service team who will support you with the cancellation process.

Rent A Local Croatia has prepared a very helpful guide for Ukrainian citizens seeking asylum in Croatia. You can read it HERE.

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

For more, check out our business section.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Most Ukrainian Refugees Arrive in Croatia via Goričan Border Crossing

ZAGREB, 30 March 2022 - The Civil Protection Directorate head Damir Trut and the Croatian Red Cross executive president Robert Markt on Wednesday visited the busiest reception and transit centre for Ukrainian refugees, set up at the Goričan border crossing through which 8,300 Ukrainians have passed lately.

After being escorted to the reception and transit centre by Goričan Mayor Emanuel Sinković, Trut and Markt met with Međimurje County Prefect Matija Posavec.

 After the talk, Trut said that all efforts should be made to make sure that displaced persons from Ukraine are accommodated in the best possible way.

"Međimurje County is a very good example. Cooperation at the national, regional and local level is functioning by exchanging all the information on the needs that have to be resolved, from entering the Goričan border crossing where more than 80% of the displaced persons are entering Croatia to accepting them at the border crossing itself," said Trut.

He added that a majority of Ukrainian refugees have been accommodated in private properties while a smaller portion (15%) are staying in collective accommodations.

"That is why it is essential to activate and stimulate an even better response to the public call that the Interior Ministry and Civil Protection Directorate advertised three days ago calling for anyone with vacant premises or the opportunity to take in refugees," said Trut.

Robert Markt also commended Međimurje County for well-organised reception of refugees.

"We are by no means in a pleasant situation considering that we do not know how many people are coming to Croatia. The system has to be at its highest level the entire time. With the support of counties and their prefects, we do our job smoothly and all refugees who come to Croatia are being treated with dignity," underscored Markt.

County Prefect Posavec said that more than 11,000 displaced persons from Ukraine have come to Croatia and 8,300 of them entered at the Goričan crossing.

"At the moment, we have 165 Ukrainians accommodated here, some privately and some in hotels. Reception centres were available too but they were not necessary for now," said Posavec. He added that about 30 Ukrainian children have been enrolled in schools in the county and 21 interpreters have been engaged.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

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