Over 90,000 Ukrainian refugees who fled to Bulgaria since the outbreak of war now face a tough decision: pay for their stay in hotels, clear out, or return to their war-torn country. The Bulgarian authorities have issued orders for them to move to communist-era state complexes and military bases.
Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who took office in December 2021, said that the Bulgarian state can't continue to support such a luxurious stay in Bulgaria. Steps are being taken to move them from Bulgarian hotels on the Black Sea Coast, which became subsidized shelters to buffer centers before the holiday season begins, according to Radio Free Europe.
For three months we have been able to give unmatched support to some of the best hotels in Bulgaria. We are entering a more normal framework despite the fact that they are refugees. He said that the Bulgarian state cannot continue to support such luxury stays in Bulgaria - and we are entering a reality closer to what is expected for refugees.
This has resulted in chaos and miscommunications. The refugees were not registering their details and were avoiding buses and trains scheduled to take them to buffer centers due to concerns about alternative facilities, according to Bulgarian officials. According to local reports, only 500 of 90,000 refugees have so far used the possibility of moving from hotels to state-owned holiday homes in the interiors.
The refugees and volunteer organizers claimed that the authorities did not fully communicate their plans to Ukrainians. Tetyana, a nurse who fled eastern Ukraine with her 13-year-old daughter after the outbreak of war, told the Bulgarian Service that they had no official information. She and her daughter had been staying in a luxury hotel in the cape resort of Sozopol since she escaped Donbas.
We were told we would receive a preliminary notice 48 hours before the relocation - either by e-mail or phone, or through our personal profile on theukraine.gov. Tetyana said the website bg was bg. She told the news outlet that no one received anything.
Many people are returning home because of this. I'll go home because I don't know what's going to happen to us at the end of the month, Maryna, a refugee, was quoted by BNT.
Many volunteer organizations have expressed their protest against Bulgaria's stance. Svetlozara Koleva, a volunteer from the port city of Varna, told Balkan Insight that the situation was complete chaos. Many people don't know what will happen to them. Many people return to Ukraine or go to Romania, where they seem to be finding jobs more easily, Koleva said.