The 71 days of Russian aggression in Ukraine have generated millions of images of destruction and horror. Places like Bucha, Mariupol or Irpin have been recorded forever in the darkest pages of recent European history. After the trail of cold-blooded shelling and shooting of civilians, lives are left shattered. Dead, wounded, women and girls raped, civilians traumatized, internally displaced persons and refugees, and a country in pieces. A donor conference held in Warsaw on Thursday was dedicated to all of them in which the international community has promised to allocate 6,500 million dollars (about 6,150 million euros) for humanitarian aid to the invaded country.
Different UN agencies and the Red Cross unpacked before the heads of State and Government of countries around the world the horrors of war and the most urgent needs. Nearly 16 million Ukrainians need humanitarian aid, according to the UN, which has asked for 2.25 billion to support its efforts. “The level of death, destruction and misery of the civilian population affected by the armed conflict in Ukraine is abhorrent and unacceptable,” said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki co-organizer of the conference together with the Swedish Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, in cooperation with the EU and the UN, thanked the donors for their participation. The announcement at the end of the day of the amount raised of 6,150 million was followed by a great applause in the room. Furthermore, the campaign stand up for ukrainein which, apart from States and international organizations, artists also participated, raised 10,100 million euros for refugees and internally displaced persons on April 9.
As Morawiecki had explained in his initial speech, Ukraine needs more than 12,000 tons of humanitarian aid every day, and 3,000 tons are provided, less than 25% of the food, medicine and hygiene items that they urgently require. In addition to providing funds for his neighbor, the Polish prime minister called on the international community to “increase pressure on Russia” through firm sanctions and “complete confiscation of Russian assets and reserves.” “It was Russia that started this war and must pay the consequences,” he said.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, stated that “the war is not won only on the battlefield”. “There is also the humanitarian, economic and financial support, and the ability to ensure normal life in the liberated territories and rebuild what was destroyed by the Russian army,” he said. In their video call connection, Zelensky made three requests. First, he stated that they need financial resources to meet the needs of the Ukrainians. Second, he requested international cooperation for a recovery and reconstruction plan on which they are already working, and for which he invited governments and companies from around the world to sponsor projects, as the United Kingdom has promised to do with kyiv and Greece with Odessa. . Third, he asked the EU to grant him the status of a candidate country with a special abbreviated procedure. “Ukraine’s membership in the European Union must be an absolute reality, not just promises or prospects, but practical steps,” he urged.
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Charles Michel, president of the European Council, expressed the EU’s commitment to continue supporting kyiv and evoked the need to reissue the Marshall plan that helped Europe after the Second World War. “We will rebuild a modern, prosperous and democratic Ukraine, a country full of confidence and ready to embrace its European future and its place in the European family,” he promised. Michel recalled Ukraine’s urgent need for liquidity; according to the International Monetary Fund, the country needs 5 billion euros a month to continue operating and for teachers, doctors and other essential workers to continue providing their services.
The European Commission has provided 4,000 million euros of financial aid for the country, has mobilized 3,500 million for the reception of refugees in the Member States and has committed 1,800 million for internally displaced persons, according to its president, Ursula von der Leyen, to which this Thursday he added another 200 million for humanitarian aid. Von der Leyen assured that “Russia is committing war crimes on a daily basis.” “We cannot match the bravery and sacrifice of the Ukrainian people, but we can support you, we can help you,” she stressed.
One third of the displaced population
In the 10 weeks since the start of the war, more than a third of Ukraine’s population has been forced to flee their homes, according to Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. More than 5.6 million people have fled the country and there are more than 7.7 million internally displaced persons. “This is today the biggest crisis of human displacement in the world,” said Grandi, who called for funds to help Ukrainians, regardless of where they are; support to provide them with “decent accommodation” in the medium term and not temporary camps; and cooperation for the repair and reconstruction of homes destroyed by war, so that the displaced can return home “with dignity”.
Ukrainian children are seeing things that no minor should see, as Catherine Russell, executive director of Unicef, recalled. “Every day that the war in Ukraine continues is a nightmare for millions of children,” she remarked. Nearly two-thirds have been forced to flee and hundreds have died. Unicef works to meet their most urgent needs and help them build the resilience to rebuild their lives.
Water, electricity, food, a secure shelter and emergency medical help have become luxuries in much of Ukraine. “The disruption of health care has been catastrophic,” according to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization. “We’ve seen it all,” he said, including nurses delivering babies in basements and doctors tending to the wounded and performing surgeries as bombs fell. In the 10 weeks of war, there have been 191 attacks on hospitals, clinics, ambulances, health workers and patients, resulting in 75 deaths and 54 injuries. “These attacks are a violation of international law and it is absolutely unacceptable,” he stressed.
The president of the Red Cross, who evoked the difficulties in organizing humanitarian corridors for civilians in cities like Mariupol, recalled the obligations that the Geneva Convention imposes to protect civilians, provide aid to the wounded, and treat prisoners with dignity. of war and the deceased. “Facilitating access to humanitarian action is an obligation, not a point of negotiation,” Mauer denounced.
The representative of the UN World Food Program, David Beasley, also denounced the obstacles that are encountered daily to offer aid to the Ukrainians. Beasley also warned that if the ports of the Odessa region remain closed, it will be catastrophic for Ukraine, which exports grain to the whole world, and for many other countries. “That’s why we ask Russia, please. Please, we will have famines all over the world if you don’t open those ports,” he said.