- Title: Ukrainians blocked on Slovenian border, not allowed entry from Italy
- Date: 13th March 2020
- Summary: FERNETTI, ITALY (MARCH 13, 2020) (REUTERS) A GROUP OF UKRAINIAN NATIONALS WHO LIVE IN ITALY WANTING TO TRAVEL THEIR HOME COUNTRY OF UKRAINE BLOCKED ON THE ITALIAN BORDER WITH SLOVENIA AND NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER AFTER ARRIVING THERE VIA BUS, STANDING BY BUSES AMBULANCE ARRIVING AT THE THE SLOVENIAN SIDE OF THE BORDER WITH ROAD SIGN POINTING TOWARDS THE CAPITAL, LJUBLJANA COLUMN READING (Italian): "ITALY" AT BORDER / UKRAINIANS GATHERED BY BUSES UKRAINIANS GETTING INSIDE PARKED BUSES, SIGN ON THE BUS READING (Ukrainian and Italian): "Milan - Kiev - Mykolaiv" WOMAN WEARING PROTECTIVE MASK INSIDE BUS CHILDREN SEEN THROUGH BUS WINDOW GROUP OF UKRAINIANS, MANY IN MASKS, OUTSIDE BUSES (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) UKRAINIAN WOMAN WHO DID NOT GIVE NAME, SAYING: "We have been stopped here since last night at 2 a.m. (0100 GMT), and we don't know what is going to happen. Everybody is promising that something will change. We can't continue our journey, we have children on board, we are tired and we can't continue." ANOTHER UKRAINIAN WOMAN (BLUE COAT), UNNAMED, SAYING: "We go to Ukraine because we have Ukrainian citizenship and we have to go Ukraine." UKRAINIAN MAN SAYING: "And if something happens, we want to die in our homes in our country." JOURNALIST ASKING: "Do you have children with you?" ALL UKRAINIANS SAYING: "Yes, two children" UKRAINIAN MAN IN CAP SAYING: "We are more than 100 people stopped here since 11 p.m. (2200 GMT) at night, at 10 p.m. (2100 GMT) they closed the border, Slovenian police sent us away saying: go away from here, we don't want you. Now we are waiting for our embassy, for our government if they can find a solution with the Slovenian government to let us cross the border. Because we can't go back, and we can't continue. We are stuck here." UKRAINIAN MAN SAYING: "We just want to be able to cross, we are not going to Slovenia to go for walk. We want just to cross, to get to our country." UKRAINIAN MAN IN CAP SAYING: "There is no difference between us and those truck drivers (points to trucks going the border without being stopped)." UKRAINIAN WOMAN (BLUE COAT) SAYING: "There is no difference between us and them (truck drivers). But they can cross and we have been stopped here since 00.40 a.m. (2300 GMT). It is not right, we have to do something. Nobody is helping, nobody. What can we do? Please help us because it's not a joke for 100 people." SLOVENIAN POLICE CAR DRIVING TOWARD BORDER TRUCK PASSING THROUGH SLOVENIAN SIDE TRUCK AT BORDER MAN WITH MASK ON HIS FOREHEAD WALKING TOWARDS TRUCK TRUCKS / UKRAINIANS GATHERED OUTSIDE BUSES POLICE CHECKING CARS AND TRUCKS AT BORDER
- Keywords: Coronavirus Italy lockdown Slovenia Ukraine shutdown
- Reuters ID: LVA001C4VYYX3
- Location: FERNETTI, ITALY
- City: FERNETTI, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Duration: 00:03:28
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: Buses carrying Ukrainian nationals were blocked on the Italian border with Slovenia on Friday (March 13) after Slovenian authorities refused to let the vehicles enter the country.
Italy has been struggling to contain a coronavirus outbreak that has so far left the country with a death toll of over 1,000. Looking to halt the spread of the disease, the government introduced strict restrictions on Italians, ordering the blanket, nationwide closure of restaurants, bars and almost all shops except for food stores and chemists.
The Slovenian prime minister designate Janez Jansa said on Thursday (March 12) his country would limit the transport of fruit, vegetables and live animals from Italy and other countries where the virus is present to prevent its spread through those products. No mention had so far been made about human movement.
Some 100 Ukrainians, who all live in Italy, said they were stopped by Slovenian authorities late at night as they tried to cross through to Slovenia from a border checkpoint in Fernetti, the town on the Italian side.
They were travelling with children on four buses, many wearing protective masks.
"We can't continue our journey, we have children on board, we are tired and we can't continue," said a distressed Ukrainian woman, speaking to a journalist among a crowd of people desperate to return to their country.
"If something happens, we want to die in our homes in our country," said a Ukrainian man, standing next to her.
The group said they were waiting for the Ukrainian government to find a solution so they can continue their journey home.
"Slovenian police sent us away saying: go away from here, we don't want you. Now we are waiting for our embassy, for our government if they can find a solution with the Slovenian government to let us cross the border. Because we can't go back, and we can't continue. We are stuck here," said another Ukrainian man at the border.
They were growing increasingly frustrated as they said trucks from Italy carrying goods were able to pass through the border without being stopped.
A printed sign on the front of the buses indicated that they had travelled around 425 kilometres from Milan and were heading to the Ukrainian capital Kiev, followed by Mykolaiv.
Italy's Foreign Ministry on Friday (March 13) said they were 'closely following' the transit issue on the Slovenian border with great attention.
(Production: Oriana Boselli, Eleanor Biles, Emily Roe)
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