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.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Staničić: Booking Is Slow, But Without Major Disruptions To Travel Market

ZAGREB, 3 March 2022 - The booking for tourist accommodation in Croatia is currently somewhat slow, but without any major disruptions to the travel market, Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) director Kristjan Staničić said on Thursday.

He said it was very hard to make any forecasts right now considering the Ukraine crisis and its impact on present and future tourism trends. "Unless the situation in Ukraine stabilizes soon, it is realistic to expect that the crisis will start to spill over to countries in its immediate vicinity and then to the rest of Europe," he added.

Staničić said that this year Croatia could hardly count on visitors from remote markets, such as the United States, Canada, and China, who see Europe as a single destination. On the other hand, Croatia could benefit from the fact that it is primarily a car destination, easily accessible by road, which in the present circumstances is a comparative advantage.

Staničić relayed today's statement by the European Travel Commission, of which he is vice-president, in which the representatives of national travel organizations condemned the Russian military invasion of Ukraine and expressed solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

"ETC strongly condemns this violation of international law and calls for all parties to work towards a peaceful resolution," Staničić said, adding that all ETC members and partners were called upon to help by providing transport, shelter, and food to those in need.

ETC believes that the conflict will have a negative impact on the travel and tourism sectors in European countries, which are slowly beginning to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Staničić said.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Vučković: EU Needs Emergency Measures Over Ukraine War And Increased Prices

ZAGREB, 3 March 2022 - Croatian Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković attended an extraordinary video meeting of EU agriculture ministers on Wednesday to discuss the potential impact of the conflict in Ukraine on the EU's agriculture and food sector.

Vučković expressed understanding of the situation in which Ukraine found itself, given Croatia's experience with the 1991-1995 Homeland War.

She mentioned the fundamental goals of the common agricultural policy, including ensuring a secure food supply at affordable prices and decent living conditions for rural communities across the EU.

Vučković said that monitoring the situation on the market was not enough anymore and that it was high time to activate emergency measures, considering increases in prices of energy and consequently of fertilizers, transport, livestock feed, and other related production costs.

"We have to be resolute and state clearly that, as European ministers responsible for ensuring sufficient food supplies for our populations, the security of the food systems is an absolute priority," the Croatian minister said.

The EU agriculture ministers called on the Commission to consider the use of all available tools and mechanisms within and outside the common agricultural policy to create conditions for a collective response to the current situation.

Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowsk announced a series of steps and activities, including proposals for the activation of emergency market measures.

The ministers expressed solidarity with Ukraine and readiness to support it within and outside the EU humanitarian aid mechanisms.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Donations for Ukraine Being Collected in Split Today Between 4pm and 8pm

March 2, 2022 - A group of volunteers from the Association for Ukrainian Culture in Dalmatia - CVIT, with the help of a married couple conformed by a Ukrainian and a Chilean of Croatian descent, have set up a space to collect donations for Ukraine to support the refugees at the border. Here is what they need.

Yesterday, the people of Split once again showed their great heart, responding to the action of collecting humanitarian aid for Ukrainians organized by volunteers of the "Association for Ukrainian Culture in Dalmatia - CVIT", reports Slobodna Dalmacija. As we learn from Olga Kysliuk, a Ukrainian woman married to Rafael Barria, Chilean of Croatian descent who brought her spouse to Split, the space they rented for other purposes was made available to collect aid until further notice.

''We had a really good response today, even some Russians came to us with donations for Ukraine, so we decided to leave the door open as long as there is interest. A lot has been collected, and in contact with Ukrainians on the ground we learn that there is still a lack of medical supplies, compresses to stop bleeding and first aid kits, and thermal clothing and flashlights, along with hygiene supplies and instant food, so please adjust their donations to these needs'', Kysliuk states.

According to her, part of the already collected donations will be taken over by Ukrainian volunteers on the way to the border in the early morning hours, while the rest is being organized for transport.

''We do the best we can on our own. We are in contact with the embassy, ​​but the organization is on us. People from all over are really coming and offering what they can, and the smiles they come to our door are worth a lot. Of course, they are not in good spirits, none of us are, so we appreciate that effort. I feel much better today than in the previous days, because I did something useful, not just sitting and crying with my arms crossed while my dear people spend the night in shelters'', says our interlocutor originally from the newly destroyed city of Chernihiv, stating that her family at the last minute found refuge in the countryside, but still in Ukraine.

Donations will be collected at the same address, Ulica kralja Zvonimira 7, today between 16:00 and 20:00, and apparently in the coming days as well. Anyone interested in more information can call 095/542 4292.

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

Monday, 28 February 2022

Beroš Says Croatia Will Provide Health Care for Wounded and Refugees from Ukraine

28 February 2022 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Monday that Croatia would provide health care for refugees from Ukraine, as well as all necessary medical assistance for the wounded if the need should arise.

Croatia already helped treat the wounded from Ukraine in 2014 during the annexation of Crimea. At that time, we offered help with taking care of a total of 10 wounded persons, and eight of them were treated at Zagreb's KB Dubrava hospital, mostly persons with gunshot wounds to arms and legs, who arrived in Croatia in the final phase when treatment had to be completed and rehabilitation carried out, the minister recalled.

The manner of caring for the wounded will be agreed at the European level, and Croatia is willing to participate because Croatian doctors have extensive surgical experience in treating such patients, Beroš told Hina, adding that he also talked about it with the Ukrainian ambassador to Croatia.

Beroš considers that it would be more functional to establish a health centre for the wounded near the Ukrainian border, for example in Poland, and have medical staff, including Croatian doctors, participate in the treatment at that centre.

As for health care for Ukrainian refugees coming to Croatia, it will be provided to everyone from the place of entry in Croatia to the place where they will stay for a longer period of time.

Medical triage at points of entry into Croatia

Therefore, in addition to the government's interdepartmental working group for the reception of refugees, an expert working group was established at the level of the Health Ministry to provide specific health care to those people.

Beroš said that medical emergency teams would provide medical triage at points of entry into Croatia. These will include county institutes of emergency medicine and public health institutes since the COVID crisis has not ended yet, refugees have to be tested and their vaccination status has to be recorded, he said.

Ukrainian refugees fill out a questionnaire from the Croatian Red Cross upon entry, answering also questions about recovering from COVID, vaccination and chronic diseases, so that they can receive all the necessary care.

Monday, 28 February 2022

Croatia Sending Infantry Weapons for Four Brigades in Ukraine

28 February, 2022 - Croatia has decided to grant Ukraine's request for weaponry and will send infantry weapons and protective equipment in the amount sufficient for four brigades, Defence Minister Mario Banožić told the press on Monday.

"We are talking about rifles and machine guns with the calibres requested by the Ukrainian side," said the minister after the government held a meeting at which military aid to Ukraine was discussed.

The value of the weapons is HRK 124 million (€16.5 million).

Croatia also plans to declare up to 10 soldiers for NATO's rapid response force.

Banožić declined to reveal more information about the soldiers for that mission.

He said that the authorities were monitoring the situation in the region, and that following intelligence collected, the protection of military facilities had been raised to a higher level.

Monday, 28 February 2022

HDZ Whip Says 193 Ukrainian Refugees Registered in Croatia

28 February, 2022 - Ruling HDZ party whip Branko Bačić said on Monday that there were currently 193 Ukrainian refugees in Croatia and that 3.5 million refugees from that country were expected in the EU if the Russian aggression against Ukraine continued.

The Croatian government will send humanitarian and technical aid to Ukraine, and its health system is preparing for the reception of the wounded, he said.

A special task force will be formed at today's government session to be in charge of the reception of refugees, Bačić told reporters in the parliament after a meeting of the inner cabinet with representatives of the parliamentary majority and opposition parties on the topic of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine.

The meeting, held on Monday morning, was attended by representatives of all opposition parties and there was no dissonance regarding the sending of aid to Ukraine, he said.

The broadest possible consensus was reached by all parliamentary parties on the government's position regarding the Russian military aggression and full support was expressed for Ukraine's struggle for territorial sovereignty and integrity, Bačić said.

Further joint meetings at the level of the ruling coalition for the duration of the aggression were agreed, as were meetings at the level of representatives of opposition parties and the ruling coalition.

It was agreed that PM Andrej Plenković would address MPs in the coming days on the steps taken by the government.

According to information available to Croatia's Ambassador to Ukraine, Ankica Djamić, there are still 35 Croatian nationals in Ukraine and they have been in touch with the embassy the whole time, said Bačić.

Vote on new construction minister possible on Friday 

Bačić also said that a special task force would be monitoring Croatia's supply with energy products.

Around 43% of gas for consumption in EU member states comes from Russia and in Croatia the share of Russian gas is 22%.

"The HDZ has welcomed the fact that given the LNG terminal on Krk island, Croatia will not have supply problems either until the end of or after the heating season," said Bačić.

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić informed participants in today's meetings that Fortenova Grupa was not suffering any consequences of the current situation, and that more than 90% of depositors at Sberbank d.d. were protected by the deposit insurance system.

Marić added that the government was closely monitoring the possibility of the crisis spilling over to the southeast, noting that since 1939 there had been no event in Europe that could be compared with the Russian aggression on Ukraine.

As for the appointment of the new construction minister, Marić said that the decision was being prepared and that the parliament might vote on the new minister already on Friday.

Marić declined to comment on potential candidates, saying only that the prime minister had interviewed them.

Monday, 28 February 2022

Grlić Radman: Between 30 and 50 Croatian Citizens Still in Ukraine

28 February, 2022 - By keeping its ambassador in Ukraine Croatia has shown its solidarity, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman said on Monday, adding that about 30 to 50 Croatian citizens may still be in Ukraine whereas prior to the aggression there were 114.

"By keeping the ambassador, Croatia has shown solidarity and it recalls that it, too, was grateful to every country that recognised it and had empathy, with Ukraine being the first UN country to recognise Croatia's independence," Grlić Radman said during a cabinet meeting.

The ministry is continually monitoring developments, the ministry and the ambassador are in constant contact with Croatian citizens who are accessible, the minister underscored.

According to the latest information, most of the Croatian citizens in Ukraine are located in Kyiv while some are in Poltava and Lviv.

"We have their phone numbers, addresses, and they have been accessible, however, their number is constantly changing considering that some of them manage to cross the border to the EU. We are in contact 24 hours a day if any problem occurs," the minister said.

Helping other nationals along with Croatians

A task force set up by the ministry will contact everyone on the list and determine their exact location. Croatian embassies in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have been contacted to help our citizens and their Ukrainian relatives cross the border, he said.

Grlić Radman said that the ministry has contacted crisis centres in the foreign ministries of countries like Germany, France, Italy, Romania and Greece to obtain information about any possible evacuation plans they are carrying out or plan to carry out in Ukraine.

He commended Croatia's embassies, saying that when they manage to arrange for Croatians to leave Ukraine, often citizens of other countries are included, and "we are being commended for that."

Opening the cabinet meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that Croatia's Ambassador to Ukraine, Anica Djamić, would remain in Ukraine as long as necessary to be at the service of Croatian citizens but also to send a strong political message to Ukraine that Croatia is among the seven remaining EU member states that still have their ambassadors in Kyiv.

Monday, 28 February 2022

PM Plenković Announces 124 Million Kuna in Support Measures for Ukraine

February 28, 2022 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced a package of support measures for Ukraine, including 124 million kuna in protective equipment and small arms, in addition to restricting the use of air space by Russian planes. Here is a summary of the measures taken in Croatia so far.

Four days after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukrainian territory, fighting continues across the country, including in the capital of Kyiv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pointed out that, so far, they have successfully resisted the Russian offensive and the daily results are positive. In addition to the fact that from the beginning, and on a daily basis, the sanctions against Russia and its companies have been increasing and asserting, several international media indicate that Russia would be facing a possible scenario of de-escalating their invasion. Yesterday, a Ukrainian delegation traveled to Belarus for the first approach to peace talks with Russia.

Croatia, like other countries of the European Union or NATO, had a definite position regarding the Russian invasion. On Thursday 24, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with the Ukrainian Ambassador to Croatia, Vasyl Kyrylych, and expressed not only his support and solidarity but also confirmed a possible series of sanctions against Russia. Plenković also condemned the Russian aggression and claimed Ukraine as an independent and sovereign nation.

The following day, the Government's position was supported almost unanimously in Parliament, which adopted a declaration on the situation in Ukraine, where in addition to showing its solidarity and position in favor of Ukraine, they also condemned Russia and supported future sanctions against the Russian Government and companies. Almost all Croatian parliamentary groups spoke out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and they reaffirmed it on Saturday 26.

During the weekend, the Prime Minister held meetings with the main authorities of his government and discussed not only the package of sanctions against Russia but also support strategies for Ukraine. It should be noted that in Germany, Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz halted the approval for the agreement on the Nord Stream 2 gas line. Likewise, some European countries, such as the Czech Republic, Latvia, and Lithuania, have stopped issuing visas for Russian citizens.

To date, many Russian companies have been boycotted around the world, including select Russian banks that have already been disconnected from the SWIFT system, a move supported by the United States. In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the freezing of the assets of several Russian banks and even the suspension of several Russian oligarchs in the country. The vast majority of European countries have restricted the entry of flights from Russia and suspended the operations of Russian airlines.

In Croatia, many of the actions have come as an initiative of the population. Thousands have withdrawn their money and closed their accounts in the Russian bank Sberbank, which has even caused its subsidiaries in Croatia and Slovenia to fail or likely to fail owing to a deterioration of their liquidity situation, according to multiple reports. Also, on Saturday, Total Croatia News reported that the first Croatian volunteers were on their way to join the Ukrainian army to confront Russia. Most are veterans with combat experience.

But in parallel, the Government confirmed from the beginning the dispatch of ten Croatian soldiers as part of NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. Likewise, Croatian government authorities confirmed the disposition and readiness to receive Ukrainian refugees. On Saturday, the Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinović confirmed the arrival of the first six refugees, who according to him did not need assistance upon arrival since they had private accommodation. On the same day, Davor Spevec of the Civil Protection Directorate said in Slavonski Brod that Croatia could receive up to 17,000 refugees from Ukraine.

Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević confirmed that the Croatian capital was ready to receive Ukrainian refugees and that more locations would be made available. Similarly, in Osijek, a center was set up to house up to 300 refugees. The opening of one more center on the border with Ukraine has already been announced.

Over the weekend, PM Plenković has met with the rest of his ministers, the Civil Directorate, and the Croatian Red Cross to carry out all the corresponding coordination on handling the situation. 

The Prime Minister took the opportunity yesterday to reaffirm his support for Ukraine, in addition to expressing that Ukraine is an independent and sovereign country. Likewise, the Russian airline Aeroflot suspended its operations in Croatia, something that the PM himself reinforced by announcing the prohibition of the use of airspace for Russian aircraft.

Today, on his Twitter account, Plenković announced a series of support measures for Ukraine. He had previously expressed that by supporting Ukraine, Croatia was standing on the right side of history. "Croatia is on the right side of history, on the right side of values, on the right side of international law, on the right side of humanity. It's very important that at this moment such a clear message prevails also in the Croatian public," he told the press.

Furthermore, he stressed that the current relationship with Russia, under the current circumstances, was not the best.


The Prime Minister first appealed to recent history in Croatia in a tweet:

''The Croatian people know very well what it means to fight for democracy and decide on their own destiny, and to defend their homeland from aggressors! Croatia can only be on the side of democratic, sovereign, and attacked #Ukraine, on the side of justice, peace and freedom!

He followed his first tweet by announcing the supporting measures:

''We bring a package of measures to support Ukraine and send assistance in protective equipment and small arms worth 124 million kuna. We are raising the level of preparedness for the possible reception of refugees and ensuring gas supply and financial stability''.

Finally, he confirmed what had already been announced the day before about the use of Croatian airspace:

''We have also adopted a measure banning the use of airspace by Russian planes!''

 Most recently, the Prime Minister shared a new tweet expressing support for the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

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

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Croatian Red Cross Receives First Ukrainian Refugees

ZAGREB, 27 Feb 2022 - The Croatian Red Cross (HCK) said on Saturday it received the first Ukrainian refugees, with spokeswoman Katarina Zorić confirming they were five persons - a mother with two children and a married couple.

Speaking to Hina, she said the mother and children were brought to the reception location by police, while the married couple arrived alone.

"We expect more arrivals," Zorić said, although she could not confirm the location. According to unofficial reports, the refugees were received at Plitvice Motel near Zagreb.

The HCK said the refugees were given humanitarian aid and that teams for psychosocial support were ready.

Earlier on Saturday, the HCK said on Facebook their teams were prepared for receiving Ukrainian refugees.

The HCK is in contact with its colleagues in Ukraine who are helping people find accommodation and giving them water, clothes and hygienic supplies.

"We are following the instructions of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is running the operation on the ground and responding to the needs of people from areas affected by the war conflict. The goal is clear, to ease the suffering of every person," the HCK said.

First Ukrainian refugee family arrives in Vukovar-Srijem County

A young Ukrainian refugee family with a ten-year-old child arrived in Vukovar-Srijem County on Saturday after travelling five days from Odessa, county head Damir Dekanić said.

An eastern Croatia reception centre for Ukrainian refugees has been set up in a sports hall in Osijek, he added.

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

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