The EU development aid has provided €23 million in 2020 while the additional funds aim to cover the basic needs of the country’s populations and will be allocated to people living there.
The money will be disposed by UN agencies, NGOs and the International Committee of the Red Cross. It is also planned to be used to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, support the health sector as well as helping those Ukrainians who fled to Russia.
EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said, “People in Eastern Ukraine are preparing to survive the seventh winter while caught up in conflict. The coronavirus pandemic is making the humanitarian situation worse. EU aid will get essential supplies to the most vulnerable families ahead of winter. Ultimately, a political solution must be found and international humanitarian law respected by all.”
Crossing lines are critical for the survival of much of the population of Eastern Ukraine. As a result of the conflict, more than 13,000 people have died and 9,000 have been injured. Furthermore, allocating humanitarian aid is very often difficult because pro-Russian separatists hinder access to occupied areas by aid organizations.
Since the conflict in Eastern Ukraine began in 2014, the EU has allocated €165 million in humanitarian aid to the country and over €11 billion annually in other types of assistance such as macro-financial assistance and loans made by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank.
Apart from this assistance, EU member states also support Ukraine on a regular basis with the major donor being Germany which about €1 billion in aid and €786 million in disbursements. Ukraine has also received significant financial help from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United States, Canada, and Japan.
According to the UN, about 4 million people in Ukraine still rely on humanitarian assistance simply to cover daily needs such as food and water and the COVID-19 has pandemic made their situation even worse. Due to the restrictions as a result of the pandemic as well as the ongoing military conflict, the number of crossings of the ‘contact line’ which divides Government and Non-Government Controlled areas, has dropped dramatically which means that about 1.2 million people from Donbas region are unable to access their pensions, provided by the Ukrainian government, or support other members of their families.
As the conflict in Donbas continues and COVID-19 makes the situation even worse, it is expected that the needs of Eastern Ukraine will rise dramatically.