Tuesday, 15 March 2022

340 Ukrainian Refugees Entered Croatia in Last 24 Hours

March 15, 2022 - Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees from the ongoing Russian invasion have been taken care of in the three northern Croatian counties: Varaždin, Međimurje, and Krapina-Zagorje, and more and more are arriving every day. Here are the official numbers in the northern counties.

On Tuesday, the head of the Varaždin Civil Protection Service, Ivica Matošić, confirmed that 16 people from Ukraine are currently accommodated in the reception center in the Varaždin Arena, while 37 of them are in collective accommodation at the Turist Hotel, reports Index.hr. According to him, there are currently 106 Ukrainian refugees in Varaždin County.

He emphasized that they are doing everything in the county to provide the necessary accommodation capacities for the reception of a larger number of refugees.

In Varaždin County, private accommodation with 1200 beds

"At the moment we are talking to the owners of private accommodation and those with whom we reach an agreement will sign an agreement on the use of their accommodation facilities for so-called collective accommodation. We think we have enough capacity and will be able to respond to all needs," said Matošić, who added that private accommodations have about 1,200 beds.

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The small hall of the Varaždin Arena is ready to receive Ukrainian refugees. (Photo: Vjeran Zganec Rogulja / PIXSELL)

Twelve refugees who arrived in Lovrečan in Varaždin County last night are housed in the Druškovec parish court in the Maruševec municipality. 

This was stated by the pastor of the parish of St. Juraj Maruševec, Krunoslav Milovec. According to him, it is mostly women and children and one elderly person, emphasizing that refugees are "traumatized by everything."

"With them came two animals that we allowed to be temporarily housed in the parish court until we find a way to adequately care for them," he said.

The parish court currently has the capacity to receive three more people from war-torn Ukraine, and as Milovec pointed out, the locals and everyone else are ready to help them.

"Refugees can stay with us as long as they want. At the moment, they have everything they need, and we will get them anything missing," the pastor said.

In the last 24 hours, 340 Ukrainian refugees entered Croatia

According to the latest information, in the past 24 hours, 340 Ukrainian refugees entered Croatia through the Goričan border crossing, confirmed the Chief of the Civil Protection Headquarters of Međimurje County, Josip Grivec.

85 of them are continuing their journey to other countries, and 15 of them have stated that they will stay in the area of ​​Međimurje County, said Grivec and explained that, as a rule, women with children arrive and are mostly accommodated in private accommodation.

"Međimurje serves as a passing point for refreshments, charging mobile phones and the like, in which the county, municipalities, and citizens help. The first shipment of the Directorate with 'lunch packages'' has arrived. They are adequately taken care of and they do not lack anything, so everything that is needed is still being collected," said Grivec.

There are currently 27 Ukrainian refugees in Krapina-Zagorje County, said Stjepan Skuliber, head of the county's Civil Protection Headquarters. Given that a reception center has not yet been registered in the county, he said, people from war-torn Ukraine are in private accommodations.

"We have sent a proposal to the Directorate of Civil Protection to form a reception center in the sports hall of the High School in Krapina, although we believe that due to the proximity of reception centers organized in Rakitje and Hotel Plitvice we may not need another in our county," said Skuliber.

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

Monday, 14 March 2022

Croatian Tech Companies Have Chance at EIB Cash Earmarked for Dual Research

March the 14th, 2022 - Croatian tech companies now have a chance at getting their hands on a slice of the ''cake'' being offered by the European Investment Bank (EIB) following the launch of a Strategic European Security Initiative (SESI) worth up to 6.6 billion euros by the year 2027.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, with the war continuing to rage in Eastern Europe following the Russian invasion, both EU and non-EU European countries are turning to stronger investment in defense and security.

The aforementioned money is earmarked for dual research (for civilian and military use), development and innovation, civilian security infrastructure and state-of-the-art technology projects, from space investment, AI, quantum technology, cyber and bio security including human security, food production and resources like water.

This new initiative will not change the definitions of excluded sectors, which specifically means that the EIB will not continue to finance armaments and defense as it is fundamentally defined. "SESI projects must be dual-purpose and guided by civilian implementation, which means that they're expected to have predominantly civilian use," the bank said.

A chance for the Croatian academic community as well

Gordan Pesic, who is in charge of business development at DOK-ING, has welcomed the EIB's initiative, believing that there are many opportunities within it for Croatian tech companies, but also for the academic community.

"There's certainly room in that programme for Croatian manufacturers, especially for those who close the so-called ''capability gaps'' in terms of security. Among them is DOK-ING, which produces robotic and automated high value-added systems that move people out of imminent danger,'' said Pesic.

Although it doesn't fund arms manufacturers or basic defense, the SESI initiative's propositions leave ample room for maneuver. "Croatian tech companies like the Osijek startup Orqa, Sestan Busch, GDI, and even textile companies developing smart materials could fit into that framework," he said.

DOK ING, at the recently concluded World Defense Show in Saudi Arabia (and about which we recently wrote), attracted a lot of attention from the Saudis with its Chest of Drawers, a unique robotic platform for operating in conditions of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards.

In addition to the real space sector, according to Pesic, there is also room for research projects taking place in institutions such as the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, as well as a range of sophisticated computer solutions, such as AI.

The Croatian tech company Orqa, which is now a world-famous startup for highly innovative drone management goggles, has also confirmed its potential interest in this new European funding programme.

"A lot of things we're developing naturally are dual purpose things, from radio communication solutions to remote vision systems, and drone technology in general," explained co-founder and CEO Srdjan Kovacevic, noting that they have used both European and Croatian funding sources effectively in the past.

''We're developing a system for transmitting video signals with low latency, which means that the video signal has a small delay and enables the efficient and precise control of a remote platform (such as a boat, vehicle or drone), it's for hobby drones, but essentially the same technology can be used defensive purposes,'' he explained.

Referring to the current turn of Europe and the EU as a bloc towards strengthening defense and security, Kovacevic says that Europe, unlike the United States, has invested very little in these segments through initiatives of private innovative companies, so in light of current events it is not surprising that there are now attempts being made to try to reduce the gap.

For more on Croatian tech companies, check out our business section.

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Darijo Srna Bringing 33 Shakhtar Donetsk Cadets to Kaštel Lukšić

March 10, 2022 - Former Croatia captain and current Shakhtar Donetsk director of football is bringing 33 Shakhtar Donetsk cadets to Kastel Lukšić.

A group of 33 children from Ukraine, namely young Shakhtar Donetsk footballers, will be accommodated in the branch of the Children's Home Maestral in Kaštel Lukšić with the mediation of former Croatia footballer and captain Darijo Srna. Recall, Srna played for Shakhtar and wore the captain's armband from 2003-2018, and now acts as the director of football at the club, reports Gol.hr.

"During the day, we expect the arrival of these children from Ukraine, which will be located in our branch 'Miljenko and Dobrila' in Kastel Lukšić, and Darijo Srna will mediate their arrival in Croatia," said Jelena Burazin, director of the Maestral Children's Home in Split.

According to Burazin, the management of that Home received an inquiry for the accommodation of this group of children from Ukraine, and a decision was made to place them in the branch of that Home in Kaštel Lukšić.

At the request of former Vatreni captain and long-time Shakhtar player and former Dinamo player Darijo Zahora, the young Ukrainians left the recently war-torn Ukraine, and Dinamo Zagreb sent buses to the Hungarian-Ukrainian border.

Dalmatinski Portal reports that at the same time, classes at Zlatna Vrata (Golden Gate) will be organized for adult Ukrainians. Considering that so far they have mostly come to Dalmatia in private arrangements, through friendships or nurturing relationships as long-term guests, it is not known exactly how many of them are in Split, the hinterland, and the islands. It is estimated that there are at least 500. 

The director of Zlatna Vrata, Danijela Ćukušić, is preparing the program, depending on those interested. However, it is likely that an online program will also be offered as many Ukrainians have found happiness on Šolta Island and are not in Split. 

"What I want to emphasize on this occasion is that we invite all children to join us, for free of course, at the Academic Handball Club Split. Our door is open to them. Sport is one of the best ways to assimilate, to get through these difficult moments as easily as possible," says Ćukušić.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

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.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Intellias Moves Proposed Serbian Centre to Zagreb, Cites Pro-Russian Serbian Govt Views

March the 8th, 2022 - Intellias has posted on social media that it will now move its proposed Serbian development centre, which would have been located in the city of Novi Sad, to the Croatian capital of Zagreb, citing the Serbian Government's pro-Russian position as the reason for the decision.

The company took to Facebook to post the following:

''Dear colleages, partners, and followers,

As you probably know, we've been planning to launch a new development centre in Novi Sad, Serbia recently. However, taking into consideration the pro-Russian position of the Serbian government, we made a decision to move our delivery centre to Zagreb, Croatia.

The reaction of the international communities and governments to the recent events in Ukraine is extremely important to us. Especially when it comes to the countries where our offices are located.

On top of that, Croatia is home to a strong IT community and well-developed infrastructure More than 60,000 IT specialists work in the country. So, it's our strong belief that together we will be able to provide our clients with quality technology solutions and services. 

#StandWithUkraine''

 

For more, make sure to 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.

Friday, 4 March 2022

Sabor to Debate Deployment of 70 Soldiers in Hungary

ZAGREB, 4 March (2022) - The Sabor has included on its agenda a motion regarding the deployment of 70 Croatian troops as part of NATO's enhanced forward presence in Hungary.

The parliament also put on its agenda the motion for up to five Croatian Armed Forces' members in the European Union's Cyber Rapid Response Teams (CRRTs).

Lawmakers are expected to debate the motions next week.

The government made a recommendation to the Sabor on Thursday for Croatian troops to participate in the forward presence mission.

Defence Minister Mario Banožić has said that a NATO meeting of defence ministers in February and an extraordinary NATO summit determined that the current situation in Eastern Europe and particularly in Ukraine represents one of the gravest threats to European security in the past decade, adding that all NATO members are dedicated to continuing diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Grlić Radman: Putin Should Be Convinced By Pressure Of Senselessness Of Invasion

ZAGREB, 3 March 2022 - Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman said on Thursday that pressure should be put on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his aides to convince them of the senselessness of the invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking in an interview with Media Service, Grlić Radman was asked if fear of a nuclear war was founded, to which he said that "we should act cautiously, but resolutely" towards Russia.

"We should use all the instruments of pressure through political diplomacy to convince Putin and his oligarchy, his closest aides of the senselessness of this political adventure," the Croatian foreign minister said. "We should also raise awareness of the Russian people. We can see a lot of protests in many cities, with people taking to the streets to oppose the Russian aggression," he added.

Grlić Radman said that the purpose of the sanctions was for "the Putin regime to feel the reaction on their own skin, rather than the Russian people, ordinary citizens."

As for the possibility of the Ukraine crisis spilling over to southeastern Europe, Grlić Radman said that "Serbia barely condemned the Russian invasion" and Belgrade signed the UN declaration on the Russian aggression under pressure.

"There could be a spillover of the conflict because of the fact that Kosovo is not recognized by Serbia, Russia, and some other countries, and because there are frozen conflicts in Russia's vicinity, notably in Moldova and Georgia. Therefore, a spillover can happen and we want to avoid it," the Croatian minister said.

He reiterated that Croatia supported the European membership prospects for Ukraine, as well as for the Western Balkan countries.

There are  23 Croatian nationals left in Ukraine, of whom ten are married to Ukrainians and do not want to leave the country. Croatian Ambassador Anica Djamić has left Kyiv and will continue her duties in the western city of Lviv, Grlić Radman said.

Croatia has taken in more than 600 Ukrainian refugees, and Grlić Radman said that Croatia would not have trouble accepting even hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Over 800,000 Ukrainians have so far fled the armed conflict in their country, most of them seeking refuge in Poland. Between 4 and 5 million people are expected to leave their homes.

Grlić Radman also said that the government was satisfied with the cooperation with President Zoran Milanović on this issue.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Croatia Sending €240,000 In Aid To Moldova To Help Refugees

ZAGREB, 3 March 2022 - Croatia's government on Thursday decided to send a convoy with HRK 1.8 million worth of goods and equipment to Moldova after the country took in a considerable number of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

Moldova has asked international organizations for help in accommodating the Ukrainian refugees.

Earlier in the day, the head of the Civil Protection Directorate, Damir Trut, announced in an interview with Croatian Radio that Croatia would send a humanitarian aid convoy to Moldova to help it cope with the influx of Ukrainian refugees.

The aid will include tents, beds, and other items for the accommodation of refugees, he said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Prime Minister Says Croatia Will Consistently Implement Sanctions Against Russia

ZAGREB, 3 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday said that his cabinet would make sure that the sanctions against Russia are carried out consistently by Croatia.

Also, the war in Ukraine is going to disrupt supply chains in agriculture because Ukraine is one of the major exporters of cereals and oilseeds to the European Union.

"The government is analyzing all the consequences of this situation, and will take all necessary measures accordingly so as to protect Croatian citizens and businesses and reduce the repercussions for everyday life," said the PM.

Next week, Plenković will attend an informal meeting of the European Council, which will focus on the aggression against Ukraine and on reinforcing various aspects of European sovereignty.

He recalled that Croatian Postal Bank (HPB) took over Sberbank Croatia and the government managed to ensure this transaction in a record short time.

"We have helped that sound bank to survive now as part of HPB and also to reassure its deposit holders and clients by this rapid response."

Furthermore, this transaction has increased HPB's share in the Croatian banking market to nearly 8%, and Plenković added that none of Sberbank subsidiaries in Europe had been liquidated.

 For more, check out our politics section.

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