Slovenia takes in 68 Ukrainian refugees, mostly children

Ljubljana – The refugee centre opened by Slovenia in Logatec, south-west of Ljubljana, to accommodate Ukrainian refugees, welcomed the first arrivals from Ukraine in the night to Wednesday. The group of 68 includes 38 children.

The refugees are members of a football club, including children, their coaches, chaperones and some women with children, Katarina Štrukelj, director of the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants, told reporters in Ljubljana.

They arrived in Slovenia last night and were accommodated in the renovated wing of the Logatec centre and will be provided with full material supply, food and health service, she said.

Štrukelj has spoken with them. She said the football club members mainly wanted to play football, so they got in touch with the Slovenian Football Association, who said they would organise training and friendly matches for the kids.

The group has not asked for international protection.

The part of the centre that they are accommodated is intended for unaccompanied youth as the most vulnerable group.

The office today held a meeting with NGOs, which Štrukelj said got organised well and established a network of volunteers to help with psychological and social support and distributing material aid.

The number of refugees is expected to increase in the coming weeks with the office having been informed about them being on their way.

The Logatec centre can accommodate 300, and individuals are also offering private accommodation. The office is also in talks with the local communities that have experience accommodating refugees.

Those planning organising transport for refugees were urged by Štrukelj to turn to them first to be given all the necessary information.

Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said that his ministry had made ready 80 accommodations at crisis centres for children and youth where they would get looked after in a comprehensive way.

For adults they are looking for ways to enable them to enter the job market as soon as possible should they wish so. However they can only get a job when they get refugee status.