Sunday, 20 March 2022

Over 8,300 Ukrainian Refugees Have Arrived in Croatia to Date

ZAGREB, 20 March 2022 - To date, over 8,300 Ukrainians fleeing the war have found refugee in Croatia, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on Sunday.

"Croatia has very well responded to the developments so far. However, watching what is going on, we can see that we will have to be braced for various consequences even for the ordinary citizens, and unfortunately, the worst stage of the war is about to happen", he said after a meeting of the interdepartmental task force for providing protection for refugees from Ukraine.

"This is an unprecedented humanitarian issue in Europe. Thousands, tens of thousands of people are leaving Ukraine. We can expect an influx of refugees in all EU member-states, including Croatia", Božinović noted.

On Sunday, the number of Ukrainians seeking shelter in Croatia exceeded 8,300.

"The numbers are rising, and we also insist on transparency in efforts to provide them with help", the minister said, pointing out to a comprehensive approach to this issue.

We have published a public call for 10,000 accommodation units throughout Croatia, and all steps we take will be transparent, he said.

"Croatia wants to provide the best care and sympathy to those people who have experienced the calamities. The help includes not only accommodation and food but also access to education and the labour market as well as to social welfare services", the minister said recalling that the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive.

Broken down by gender and age, about 40% of the refugees are women and 40% are children, he said adding that all of them will be eligible to receive one-off aid of HRK 2,500 (roughly €333).

For more on this, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Caritas Croatia Raises €333K For Ukraine

ZAGREB, 16 March 2022 - Caritas Croatia has raised HRK 2.5 million for the Ukraine war victims and is currently collecting material relief, the charity said on Wednesday.

There have been about 44,000 calls to a donation line and Caritas will forward all the money raised to Ukraine.

People may bring their material relief donations to Caritas warehouses or parishes.

All the necessary information is available on the charity's website.

Caritas also said that it was participating in providing for and ensuring psychosocial assistance to Ukraine refugees in cooperation with local Croatian Red Cross and Civil Protection branches.


Politics: For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 13 March 2022

Enter Croatia Application Upgraded to Include Ukrainian Language and Alphabet

ZAGREB, 13 March 2022 - The Ministry of the Interior has upgraded the Enter Croatia application to include the Ukrainian language and alphabet, improving the organisation of the reception of Ukrainian refugees and facilitate their arrival in Croatia.

"This is yet another measure with which the Ministry of the Interior, acting in cooperation with other state authorities, is expressing solidarity with the people of Ukraine and assisting in providing refuge to Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion", Minister Davor Božinović told Hina on Sunday.

"The application has proved very useful during the tourist season and the arrival of many foreign tourists, given that the collection of personal details during border checks took quite a lot of time," he added.

The aim of the latest upgrade of the Enter Croatia application is to make it easier for Ukrainian refugees who have passports and intend to stay in Croatia to provide in advance their personal details, address and contact number to facilitate their entry into Croatia. Persons without a passport will have to provide this information at the border crossing.

The Ministry of the Interior is in close contact with the Croatian Ambassador to Ukraine, Anica Djamić, and is doing all in its power to help displaced Ukrainians on their arrival in Croatia, Božinović said.

The Enter Croatia application is aimed at reducing the waiting time at border crossing points. It was developed by the Ministry of the Interior as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus and has been in use since 28 May 2020. Over 12.5 million arrivals have been announced via this app since its introduction.

According to information from Sunday morning, 5,609 Ukrainian refugees are currently staying in Croatia and 88 per cent of them are women and children.

For more on Croatia's response to the Russia-Ukraine war, visit TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Government Adopts Decision on Temporary Protection for Displaced Persons from Ukraine

7 March 2022 - The government on Monday decided to introduce temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine and Deputy Prime Minister Davor Božinović said the most important thing was to prepare the system well for a possible larger influx of refugees.

"This is an unprecedented situation after the Second World War and thanks to the rapid reaction of the European Union and the activation of the temporary protection mechanism, the Republic of Croatia will take care of all displaced persons from Ukraine who express the wish to enjoy temporary international protection in our country," Minister Davor Božinović said at a government session.

Explaining the proposal for the decision on the introduction of temporary protection for displaced persons from Ukraine, he said that the intention was for all those people to be taken care of and integrated in the Croatian society as quickly and easily as possible.

"Our duty is to provide them with everything they need," the minister said.

He said that with today's decision temporary protection was being introduced for displaced people from Ukraine in Croatia in accordance with the Act on International and Temporary Protection and the Council Implementing Decision (EU) of 4 March 2022.

Croatia will grant temporary protection to several categories of displaced persons who have left Ukraine since 24 February 2022.

This applies to nationals of Ukraine and their family member, stateless persons and nationals of third countries who benefited from international or equivalent national protection and their family members legally residing in Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

Temporary protection will also be granted to nationals of third countries legally residing in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 in accordance with Ukrainian regulations who are unable to return to their country or region of origin in safe and durable conditions.

Persons who fled Ukraine not long before 24 February 2022 due to the security situation and cannot return to their country as a result of the armed conflict will also be granted temporary protection.

The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for organising the reception and care of persons meeting the criteria for temporary protection and for receiving and processing requests for temporary protection.

Other state administrative bodies are responsible for other rights of foreigners under temporary protection, including basic resources for living and accommodation, healthcare, primary and secondary education, working without the need to obtain a residence and work permit, the minister said.

The decision on the introduction of temporary protection in Croatia for displaced persons from Ukraine enters into force on the day of its adoption.

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.

Friday, 4 March 2022

Vukovar Ready to Take in Refugees from Ukraine

ZAGREB, 4 March (2022) - Vukovar City authorities are doing all they can to help the endangered people of Ukraine who are trying to save their lives from the dangers of war, the Vukovar mayor's office said on Friday.

A statement to the press after Mayor Ivan Penava met with the representative of the Ukrainian ethnic minority in Vukovar-Srijem County, Tetyana Kochnyeva, recalls that the city sent an initiative to the government and Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets regarding the possible accommodation of Ukrainian refugees at the Zagreb Hostel in the suburb of Borovo Naselje in Vukovar.

This week, Mayor Penava met with representatives of emergency services, Vukovar's civil protection organisation, the firefighting station, the city's Red Cross branch and the police and talked about providing aid to Ukrainian refugees.

According to Kochnyeva, Ukrainian refugees who have come to Slavonia so far are mostly accommodated in Osijek.

"However, quite a few want to come to Vukovar and that is why we asked Mayor Penava for his help. The situation is changing by the hour and we are working with City of Vukovar to secure accommodation for refugees from Ukraine," said Kochnyeva.

The city appealed to anyone who can provide accommodation or transport from the Ukrainian border to Croatia to contact the the local civil protection at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling +385 (0)99/529-50-40.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Europe Facing Refugee Influx Unseen Since WWII, Interior Minister Says

ZAGREB, 2 March 2022 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on Wednesday Europe would be faced with a refugee influx unseen since WWII, and that no country could deal with that alone.

According to last night's numbers by Frontex, more than 600,000 people from Ukraine have entered the EU, he said on Croatian Radio.

The influx is not big yet because the UNHCR and other agencies estimate that five million people could leave Ukraine, Božinović added.

This is a humanitarian situation that is becoming dramatic, and can be dealt with only if everyone stands together, he said.

Speaking of meetings of EU interior ministers and what they had to agree on, Božinović said it was necessary to resolve the status of refugees first as more and more would be coming. "This is an exodus for which an adequate response will have to be found."

545 Ukrainian refugees in Croatia to date

Božinović said 545 Ukrainian refugees had arrived in Croatia and that 39 were in reception centres, while the rest were in private accommodation.

He said Croatia must prepare for a major influx as almost 100,000 had entered Hungary. It is difficult to expect Russia to stop at the moment as it is preparing a bigger escalation with attacks on Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol, he added.

Božinović said the entire Civil Protection system was getting ready, together with the health and education systems, so that the arrival of refugees passed with as little difficulty as possible.

Accommodation capacity will be expanded as needed, there are plans for using numerous state-owned facilities, and meetings are being held with the Croatian Tourist Board, hoteliers and the Tourism Ministry, he added.

Božinović went on to say that Croatia's first relief convoy left for Ukraine at 3 am today and that such things should be organised well by the institutions in charge.

Europe has no alternative but to defend its values

Commenting on Russia's threat that the countries donating military equipment to Ukraine, including Croatia, would be held accountable, he said not only NATO member states but neutral ones as well had decided to do that.

"Today we are seeing a change of the paradigm that has been in force in Europe since World War II and determination that everything that Europe has achieved must not be brought into question," Božinović said, adding that in that time the EU has become the most developed part of the world alongside the US, an area where human rights are protected and technology and living standards progress.

"If someone threatens that, and this is a threat, they will face a very clear and harsh European response because Europe has no alternative but to defend its values."

Speaking of fears that some might use the Ukraine crisis to destabilise Southeast Europe, Božinović said there were always some who were interested in destabilisation, those thinking their only trump card was force and armament, and that one could see in Ukraine that stability did not suit them.

As for Southeast Europe, he said the most important stakeholders had sent messages to every country in the region and that he was sure they would consider them well.

To be in Europe and not head for integration is not smart

Commenting on the stand of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, who has not imposed sanctions on Russia and is accusing Croatian politicians, Božinović said "it's a rhetoric we are used to." 

"Now is the time for states which have doubts to make the best long-term decisions for the future of their citizens because to be in Europe and not head for integration is not the smartest thing to do", he added.

Božinović also said he expected the political unity of the opposition and those in power on Ukraine to continue in Croatia.

The government's position is clear and one of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's first visits was to Ukraine, which is just one sign of knowing the situation and Ukraine's importance for Europe and our bilateral relations, he added.

Speaking on coronavirus, he said there were about 2,500 new cases today, 33% fewer than a week ago, a sign the steep decrease was continuing.

"If such trends continue, we will consider further relaxing restrictions", said Božinović, who heads the national COVID-19 crisis management team.

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

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Civil Protection Director: Croatia Opening Third Reception Point for Refugees

ZAGREB, 27 Feb 2022 - Civil Protection director Damir Trut said on Sunday that 63 Ukrainian refugees had arrived in Croatia and that a third reception point would be opened today on the Hungarian border after the two organised in Osijek and Zagreb.

About 2,000 beds have been prepared, which is enough for now, he said while visiting the Zagreb reception point at Plitvice Motel.

At the reception points, members of the Red Cross register the refugees and give them refugee cards before sending them to the accommodation destinations, Trut said.

"Of the 63 who have entered Croatia, most are being accommodated (at) their friends, their families or their properties," he added.

Trut said Croatia had sufficient accommodation facilities for refugees. "As the need increases, we'll open more. We are a tourist country, we have hotels, campsites, homes, resorts."

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

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Hauliers Association Offers Buses for Refugees From Ukraine

ZAGREB, 27 Feb 2022 - The Croatian Bus Hauliers Association said on Sunday it put its buses and manpower at the government's disposal for the transport of refugees from Ukraine.

"We wish to contribute... because that's our responsibility, and it's also the only way in which refugees can be transported in an organised and effective way from the Ukrainian border to envisaged locations in Croatia," Dražen Divjak, director general of the Arriva bus company, said on the association's behalf.

The association comprises big and small private hauliers with thousands of buses and more than 8,000 workers.

"It's a system which has strategic importance for Croatia and which would hardly have survived during the pandemic had the government not protected it with its measures in the last two years," the association said.

Divjak called on the many counties in Croatia which have said that they have prepared accommodation for refugees to contact them, in coordination with the Civil Protection, so that they can transport a larger number of refugees.

He said the bus hauliers were at the government's disposal "for anything else that is necessary to solve this crisis."

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

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Ukrainian Refugee Reception Centre Set up in Osijek

ZAGREB, 27 Feb 2022 - A reception centre for Ukrainian refugees has been set up in a sports hall in Osijek which can provide temporary accommodation for 300 persons, local Civil Protection services said.

The centre is intended for refugees arriving in the five Slavonia counties, Osijek-Baranja County deputy prefect Mato Lukić said on Sunday, adding that beds were set up in the sports hall and that meals will be provided today if necessary.

He said talks were under way with hotels and motels in the Osijek area for the provision of more permanent accommodation.

Lukić said one Ukrainian family arrived at the reception centre this morning to apply for refugee status, after which it found private accommodation in Vukovar-Srijem County.

Osijek Deputy Mayor Dragan Vulin said that, if necessary, buses would go to the Hungarian and Serbian borders to bring Ukrainian refugees to the reception centre in Osijek.

The director of the Osijek city branch of the Red Cross, Martina Hećimović, said search teams were ready for the registration of refugees as were psychosocial assistance teams.

She said many citizens were contacting the Red Cross to express their willingness to accommodate refugees.

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

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