site.btaUkrainian Red Cross Head Visits, Thanks Bulgarians for Aid
"I am pleased and honoured to be here and to be able to thank you in person for everything you have been doing and keep doing not only for Ukraine but also for Ukrainians in Bulgaria, because our people are in your hands," said Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS) Director General Maksym Dotsenko, quoted by the Bulgarian Red Cross (BRC) in a press release on Saturday.
"The Bulgarian Red Cross was the first national society to send us humanitarian aid, about 300 tonnes. But the bulk of the aid is what the BRC continues to do for the more than 70,000 Ukrainians in Bulgaria. This is not only material and financial assistance but also psychological and psycho-social assistance, as well as Bulgarian language training to facilitate the Ukrainians’ integration," said Dotsenko, who paid a two-day visit to Bulgaria.
During his trip he was accompanied by Irina Boicheva, a Bessarabian Bulgarian who is in charge of Strategic Partnerships and International Cooperation at the URCS. "I am especially thrilled to be here because I am not only able to express my gratitude but also to return to my roots, to the country of my ancestors," Boicheva said according to the press release.
The URCS officials met with the BRC National Council, with BRC Chairman Hristo Grigorov and BRC Director General Krassimir Gigov, who presented the guests with a plaquette of honour. The activities of aiding Ukrainian nationals who are temporary protection beneficiaries in Bulgaria and reside in the country were presented at a meeting with the BRC team. BRC Secretary General Sofia Stoimenova and BRC Deputy Director General Nadezhda Todorovska highlighted the ongoing support for families, the effort to integrate children into Bulgarian educational establishments, and partnerships with various institutions and organizations.
James Bellamy of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), who, together with BRC Disaster Management Director Jassen Slivensky, are Operation Managers of the IFRC-funded Ukraine Response Appeal in Bulgaria, presented the various areas in which support is provided and the activities planned for the coming winter period. The URCS Director General familiarized the hosts with the activities of his organization and told about the challenges it is facing.
Within the framework of their visit, Dotsenko and Boicheva, accompanied by BRC officials, held meetings with Ukraine’s Ambassador in Sofia Olesya Ilashchuk and with Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister Irena Dimitrova. The sides discussed the supportive role of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, cross-border cooperation, the significance of timely humanitarian aid, and support from Bulgaria.