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Czech Republic Rolls Back Support for Ukrainian Refugees

The Big Story: Refugee Support on the Chopping Block in Czechia

What happened: The Czech Republic is scaling back support for Ukrainian war refugees, according to reports from Czech Radio, Romea.cz, and Echo24.cz. A proposal passed this week by the lower house of parliament calls for a cut in monetary benefits for food and basic hygiene products, and would limit support to refugees who have acquired permanent residence in the country, Echo24.cz reports. The amendment also puts a time limit on free housing and free health insurance for refugees, except for children and the elderly. The amendments still have to be approved by the Senate.

As of 15 June, Prague will close its main refugee center and cancel free public transport for the refugees. The city government shuttered aid efforts at the main train station at the end of May, erecting temporary “tent cities” for refugees instead, causing other aid organizations to also pull out of the location, Romea.cz reports.

More context: Mayor Zdenek Hrib said Prague is struggling with the situation due to the number of refugees – over 83,000 have been registered in the city – and the country’s failure to implement a system to relocate them to less crowded regions, Czech Radio reports. The Czech government is already denying refugee assistance to those with dual Hungarian-Ukrainian citizenship, most of whom are Roma. Interior Minister Vit Rakusan in May offered them free train trips to Hungary instead.

Worth noting: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced today that 20% of the country is under Russian control, the Kyiv Independent reports. He was speaking via videolink to Luxembourg lawmakers.

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