Lithuania has resided more than 50,000 Ukrainians who were forced to leave the country due to Russia’s war against Ukraine, a third of them have already been employed, Ukrainian Ambassador to Lithuania Petro Beshta has said.
“Lithuania received Ukrainian citizens, now temporarily displaced persons, in an amount that corresponds to 1.8% of the total population. This is a very large figure for a state like Lithuania, but they continue to accept Ukrainians and provide everything necessary. More than 50,000” Beshta said at a briefing at the Ukraine Media Center on Thursday.
He specified that the total population of Lithuania is 2.7 million people.
According to Beshta, a third of Ukrainians who arrived in Lithuania have already been employed.
“As of now, one third of the adult population of Ukrainians who can work has already been employed. They receive an average salary of about EUR 900. Another third are looking for this job. And the other third, probably, has not yet decided, because there is also a psychological barrier for Ukrainians, and everyone is talking about it – Lithuanians and Ukrainians: that our people are not always ready to look at their stay in Lithuania so long-term, to look for work, because each of us, we all believe that the war will end quickly and they will return home soon,” he said.
The ambassador also noted that 500 Ukrainians in Lithuania have already told the authorities about their plans to return to Ukraine.
“We cannot accurately verify whether they returned and in what condition, but this trend is already emerging,” Beshta stressed.
Lithuania is ready to help Ukraine export unsold volumes of grain from last year’s harvest, Lithuanian Minister of Communications and Transport Marius Skuodis told reporters.
According to him, grain can be transported through Poland to the port of Klaipeda. Companies have already submitted proposals.
“We have been working with the Ukrainians for several weeks now, the most important thing is coordination with the railways. Several companies have already received specific proposals for transportation from the Ukrainian-Polish border to the port of Klaipeda,” Skuodis said.
At the same time, he noted that the main problem lies in the different width of the railway track of the Russian and European types.
“It is rather difficult to switch from Russian standard tracks to European ones in Poland, then to the Kaunas intermodal terminal and beyond. These are issues related to the availability of wagons and other things,” Skuodis said.
According to him, a trial train is already planned, which should leave in the coming weeks.
“The trial run is scheduled for April. We are ready for our part, we just need customers, and we can try in late April – early May, then we’ll see. Of course, the most direct route will be through Belarus, but this country is involved in certain military operations, therefore it would be impossible,” Skuodis said.
Grain export from Ukraine was disrupted due to Russia’s military actions on Ukrainian territory.
According to the head of the European Commission in Lithuania, Marius Vashchega, Ukraine occupies 10% of the world wheat market, 13% – barley, 15% – corn, more than 50% of the sunflower oil market.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting in Kyiv with President of Poland Andrzej Duda, President of Latvia Egils Levits, President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda and President of Estonia Alar Karis, who are visiting Ukraine.
“The heads of state held a meeting in the format of a working lunch,” the press service of the President of Ukraine reports.
After the talks are over, the presidents will talk to media representatives.
Nearly 43,800 refugees from Ukraine have been registered in Lithuania, 18,200 of them are minors, data from the Lithuanian Statistics Department released on Tuesday show.
Over the past 24 hours, 857 refugees have been registered in Lithuania, of which 334 are minors, including 87 children under six years of age. The weekly average daily rate of arrivals from Ukraine, according to the latest data, is 489 people.
Approximately a third of the Ukrainians who arrived were registered at the Vilnius registration center, about 6,000 – at the Kaunas center. Almost 4,900 refugees who arrived in Lithuania are children under the age of six, 13,400 are between the ages of 6 and 18. More than 1.9 thousand are people over the age of 65.
Most of the arrivals applied for a temporary residence permit for humanitarian reasons. Most of the arrivals are women and children.
Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Germany and Hungary have introduced permit-free travel for humanitarian cargo carriers to Ukraine, according to the Telegram channel of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine.
The matter concerns the release of carriers from any additional conditions, in particular the need to obtain permits for international freight traffic. This is necessary for the prompt delivery of humanitarian cargo during martial law.
To cross the border with Lithuania, Latvia and Slovakia, you do not need to submit information about the carrier and vehicle.
“We thank our European partners for their support. The Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine continues to work with foreign partners in order to speed up the process of transporting humanitarian cargo in an extremely difficult period for Ukraine,” the ministry stressed.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky signed decree No.13/2022 on the appointment of a new Ambassador to the Republic of Lithuania.
“To appoint Petro Ivanovych Beshta as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Lithuania,” the president said in the document released on its website.