3,500 Ukrainian refugees seek Limassol shelter

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Some 3,500 Ukrainian refugees, finding their way to Limassol after fleeing from Russia’s invasion, need housing, work, schools for their children and necessities, according to local authorities.

Upon the initiative of Limassol Mayor Nicos Nicolaides, the town’s stakeholders met to discuss the effects of the war in Ukraine and sanctions while addressing the issue of refugees seeking shelter.

The meeting was attended by city officials, MPs, municipal councillors, Limassol Chamber of Commerce representatives, Cyprus Bar Association, and the police.

Talking to journalists afterwards, Nicolaides said the impromptu aim of the meeting was the first assessment of the impact of Limassol.

“We, as the Municipality of Limassol, considered that a first discussion should take place, a first assessment of the possible effects on the society of Limassol, both economically and socially.”

The Limassol Mayor said the municipality would be meeting with organisations set up by Ukrainians already in Limassol to help their fellow nationals fleeing the war.

Nicolaides said the housing needs of the refugees could not be met directly by the council, as the Limassol municipality does not own accommodation, adding that they would have to appeal to the local real estate market.

He noted that despite no concrete decisions on how the local authorities could extend a helping hand to Ukrainian refugees, they would be working with the government.

“It was decided to keep communication channels with all stakeholders, including the central government and our Ukrainian friends.

“Then, when a better picture has been formed, we will be able to take steps,” said Nicolaides.

Limassol is known for its 40,000-strong Russian community, banks, shops, and media outlets.

Real estate agents have said that Ukrainians fleeing to Cyprus to escape the war have pushed up demand for property rentals in Limassol.

Demand from Ukrainian refugees has accelerated a rise in rents, as the ongoing war in Ukraine has further spiked inflation.