Croatia is planning a whole range of steps to support the Ukrainian people as they face the Russian invasion. At an extraordinary meeting of the Croatian government today the Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, announced a range of measures that Croatia is introducing, from sending financial aid, infantry weapons and blocking Russian aircraft from flying over the country.
"Today, working meetings with members of the Croatian government and relevant services on the course of reception and care of Ukrainian refugees, the implementation of EU restrictive measures against Russia, and additional measures to help Ukraine we plan, as well as the energy supply situation," stated Plenković, as he opened the meeting.
"Ukraine as a friendly country, is witnessing an unprovoked, brutal attack by the Russian army by land, sea, air and cyberspace. The attack was launched with the obvious intention of occupying it," continued the Prime Minister.
Sanctions will have consequences for Russia, Europe and Croatia
"There is no room for calculation here, we are aware that sanctions against Russia will have consequences for Russia, Europe and Croatia, but between protecting economic interests and defending justice and freedom, Croatia and the EU have chosen. That is why it is extremely important that Croatia has shown unity in clearly condemning the aggression against Ukraine. The parliamentary majority and the opposition is united, and this is especially important for the stability of our actions, which is also important and which I also appreciate. I welcome the unanimous adoption in the Croatian Parliament of the Declaration on Ukraine, which strongly condemns Russia's aggression against Ukraine,” added Plenković.
"The government also reacted quickly, already in the first hours of the attack on Ukraine. As well as a series of measures to raise the level of preparedness for the possible reception of refugees, accommodation facilities, health care, also to ensure a gas supply, as well as measures to ban the use of Croatian airspace by Russian airlines,” emphasised the Prime Minister.
Croatia to send 124 million Kunas of arms and protective equipment
He also said that Croatia will join the joint decision of the EU to deny Russia acces to the SWIFT system. And added that assistance will be sent, in the form of infantry weapons and protective equipment worth around 124 million Kuna.
Foreign Minister, Gordan Grlić Radman, said Croatia had shown solidarity with Ukraine by leaving its ambassador in Kiev. He called the ambassador "brave Anica Djanic".
And Interior Minister, Davor Bozinović, said 190 refugees from Ukraine had entered Croatia so far.
"Until yesterday, there were estimates of about 350 or 370 thousand people who entered Ukraine's neighbouring countries. Some estimates suggest the possibility of 4 million Ukrainian refugees. Let's not forget the internally displaced, which means there may be 8 million refugees." he added.
And then Minister, Oleg Butković, spoke about the ban on overflights by air carriers from the Russian Federation. He said that the EU sanctions in that part refer to the termination of existing loan agreements for Russian airlines, insurance and reinsurance agreements for their aircraft, bans on aircraft maintenance and repairs, and especially bans on airspace use, landings and take-offs, for which Butković said most EU members and the UK had introduced additional measures.
"Humanitarian flights, rescue flights with special agreements and flights in emergency situations are excluded from this ban," he added.