Czech, Austrian Foreign Ministers Visit Irpin

The ministers of foreign affairs of Austria and the Czech Republic, Alexander Schallenberg and Jan Lipavsky, have visited Irpin, city mayor Oleksandr Markushyn has said.

The visit is to signal continuing EU support for Ukraine in the war waged by Russia and ascertain the country’s needs at the present time.

“We are especially honored to welcome such guests, since Irpin receives a noticeable assistance from Austria and the Czech Republic. Thousands of Irpin residents have found safe shelter in these countries. In addition, Austria has started providing us with its support for the recovery of the city,” he said on the Telegram channel.

On behalf of the entire community, the mayor thanked both ministers for their clear position and comprehensive support for Ukraine and its people.

Markushyn said on July 18 that 70-75% of Irpin’s residents had already returned to the city.

The Czech Foreign Minister also paid a visit to the town of Irpin and the Hostomel air base, which were the scenes of fierce fighting at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Thousands of Ukrainians lose automatic right to health insurance in Czechia

Thousands of Ukrainians in the Czech Republic will lose the automatic right to state health insurance in the weeks to come and will have to contact their health insurance company, public General Health Insurance Company (VZP) board chairman Tom Philipp told reporters today.

These people will have to prove their right to health insurance covered by the state again or someone else will have to pay it. This will apply to some 215,000 refugees form Ukraine insured with the VZP, Philipp added.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, some 350,000 Ukrainian refugees who fled to the Czech Republic have registered with the VZP, 215,000 of whom are adults aged from 18 to 65 who will have to turn to the health insurance company again. The VZP expects part of them to return to Ukraine.

Some 43,000 refugees insured with the VZP have already found jobs in the Czech Republic and consequently, their employers pay health insurance for them or they pay it themselves if they work as self-employed, Philipp said.

The Czech state will keep paying health insurance for Ukrainian students under 26 year, parents looking after children, the disabled and the people registered at labour offices as job-seekers. However, unlike children under 18 and pensioners over 65, they will have to prove to the health insurance company that they are entitled to this.

If refugees do not submit the documents necessary for the continuation of their state health insurance when 150 days pass since their visa issuance or if their employers do not pay it for them, they should start paying the minimum monthly health insurance fee of 2,187 crowns themselves.

If they do not do so, they will be regarded as health insurance defaulters like Czechs who fail to pay the obligatory insurance, their debt will start rising and they could even face distraint proceedings over it, Philipp said, adding that he hoped such extreme cases would not occur.

The VZP has prepared an online form to be filled in on the website for those who are obliged to contact their insurer.

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