Minister Says Key to Situation in Ukraine in Hands of Those Who Launched Aggression

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“There is a lot of work ahead, and as regards organisation, we are very much satisfied. I would not want to talk about any concrete figures because the key to the situation in Ukraine is only in the hands of those who have launched the aggression, they know whether and when it will be stopped,” Božinović, who is also Minister of the Interior, told reporters after a meeting with members of the Civil Protection in Osijek-Baranja County and Osijek.

Božinović recalled that the government had set up an interdepartmental task force coordinated by the Ministry of the Interior.

He believes that a solid legal basis has been created to define the status and needs of Ukrainian refugees, and that it will depend on how the situation develops.

Care is being taken of the smallest details, including the issuing of EU COVID certificates to Ukrainian refugees because the coronavirus epidemic is still not over, Božinović said.

Intensive talks are underway at EU level to make Europe’s response uniform, notably regarding humanitarian issues and care for those most in need, said Božinović.

Asked about the state of buffer stocks and if they had been checked since the start of the war in Ukraine, Božinović said that they had definitely been checked but that it was a question for  the Directorate for Commodity Stockpiles.

“The Directorate and the competent ministry are part of the interdepartmental task force. Arrangements will be made on a daily basis, depending on the needs, and procurement procedures will be conducted in such a way to enable a response at any time, meeting the high standards of the European Commission,” said Božinović.

Asked to comment on a rally of support to Russia in Belgrade, Božinović said that everyone in the current crisis was relying on the values they advocated, and that as an EU and NATO member Croatia had clearly communicated its values and response to the war in Ukraine.

Osijek Mayor Ivan Radić recalled that a reception centre for Ukrainian refugees had been set up in the city, and that a local sports hall was also available for that purpose.

The city administration has ensured free public transport for refugees and their transport from the border to Osijek, and we are also ready for the integration of children in kindergartens and schools, said Mayor Radić.

The head of the Osijek County Civil Protection, Mato Lukić, said that 65 Ukrainian refugees were currently staying in the county, 18 in two boarding houses and the rest in private accommodation facilities in Osijek and other cities in Osijek County.

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


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