Op-ed : A country on its knees

Before the Russian offensive of February 2022, Ukraine was experiencing a forgotten crisis in Europe. Today we are witnessing a new stage in a conflict that has been unfolding since 2014. Seven years after the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia and the support given to the self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, in 2021, the war persists and intensifies.

As humanitarians, we are both observers and actors in a multifaceted crisis that is constantly evolving. Première Urgence Internationale was one of the first international NGOs to set up operations in Ukraine in 2015. We have developed a global approach combining health, mental health and protection in health infrastructures. The recent escalation of the conflict is generating a massive movement of populations not seen in Europe since the Second World War. Since February, hostilities have directly affected the safety and security of civilians. Since October, civilian infrastructures have been deliberately targeted. The deliberate degradation of electrical installations, depriving Ukrainians of heating at the dawn of a harsh winter, leads one to believe that the population is being targeted almost deliberately. Living conditions are more than precarious. Because of inflation and the shortage of housing, the displaced persons cannot find decent housing, or even leave the combat zones, for some.

Does it have to come to this?

A needs-based, agile, responsive response is crucial to ensure the relevance of humanitarian support in the country. The Première Urgence Internationale teams are therefore going to the reception centers in areas further away from the front line, going directly to meet those who remain. The situation is also trying for our Ukrainian colleagues, most of whom are displaced themselves. Almost all of them have a husband, a brother or a father who has left for the front. They live and work daily with the exhausting mental burden of not knowing what tomorrow will bring. The conflict in Ukraine is characterized by a very dynamic, even unpredictable context, with rapidly changing needs. There has been a gradation in the conflict for several years already; but we are now entering its ultimate phase: bringing the country to its knees by taking away people’s heat and electricity in the middle of winter, forcing them to leave to survive. What can we fear for the future? Let’s not wait to find out, but let’s fix these broken lives together.

Nicolas Ben-Oliel, Head of Mission in Ukraine for Première Urgence Internationale

Nous vous conseillons également

How your donations are used?

Stats Each year, Première Urgence Internationale allocates most of its resources to the programs and activities and only 0.2% to fundraising. Your donations are crucial.

Take control of your destiny

Your donations ensure our freedom of action. They allow us to provide support to those affected by crises that have been forgotten by the media and institutional sponsors. It means that the decisions of how to use all of the donations collected are taken by the organisation. It gives us the freedom to act and to increase our responsiveness.
Make a donation