Some 26 Ukrainians have applied to be resettled here as refugees so far, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Wednesday.

Abela said all of them are expected to stay in the country for the foreseeable future.

It is not clear whether they are staying with family members or are being housed by the government. 

Ukrainians do not need a visa to enter Malta and are automatically granted a 90-day visa upon entry.

Abela said all 26 have since applied for refugee status. He did not divulge how many refugees the country expects to take in as civilians in Ukraine are forced to flee their homes and head for safety. 

Ukraine is currently at war with Russia, after the latter began a military invasion into the country on February 24. The EU has responded with a series of stringent economic sanctions and an EU-wide initiative committing member states to provide Ukrainians fleeing conflict in their country with temporary humanitarian protection. 

Robert Abela says Malta will do what it can, given its size limitations. Video: Ivan Martin

Malta he said was helping in every way possible, within the island’s limitations.

On Tuesday, the United Nations said the number of people fleeing Russia's invasion has reached 2 million, with most arriving in Moldova, Poland and Romania.

Malta has already agreed to offer oncology treatment to cancer patients from Ukraine.

Abela said talks have begun with cancer charity Puttinu Cares to help young Ukrainian cancer patients receive oncology treatment.  

No answers on energy crisis plans 

Meanwhile, the prime minister was reluctant to tell reporters how much the government has put aside to cover potential surges in fuel prices.  

Abela has repeatedly insisted that the government will shoulder any price hikes, however, he has not explained how this will be done.  

Asked again on Wednesday, Abela said that the government would address this as it develops.  

Abela also moved to clarify that Malta has a secure supply of LPG gas. 

He was speaking just 24 hours after he told reporters that a major importer was facing a problem sourcing the type of gas used to light heaters and run ovens, as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

The island, Abela said, has a liberalised LPG market and there is a guaranteed supply for several months. 

Abela will on Thursday travel to France for an informal meeting of EU leaders where they will hash out a common solution to the developing crisis. 

Correction March 9: A previous version stated that the asylum seekers have been granted refugee status. They have applied for it.

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