Addressing the humanitarian and economic emergency in Ukraine

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Responding to the most urgent humanitarian needs

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a serious humanitarian crisis. Millions of Ukrainians have had to leave their homes to flee fighting and bombing since the beginning of the Russian offensive. Some have managed to find refuge elsewhere in Ukraine, while others have fled the country.
The Crisis and Support Centre (CDCS) of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is working to support victims and refugees in this humanitarian emergency, in both Ukraine and neighbouring countries.
To address the most urgent needs, France has released €100 million in order to finance and deliver essential humanitarian equipment, healthcare equipment, agricultural support and civil protection vehicles.
The CDCS has coordinated around 35 solidarity missions, the first through an air bridge via Poland, delivering more than 1,400 tons of aid to Ukraine and neighbouring countries and demonstrating France’s exceptional commitment to supporting the Ukrainian people. In order to rally all goodwill efforts and quickly and effectively raise financial contributions to France’s humanitarian operations, two funds have been set up:

“A Ship for Ukraine” solidarity operation

Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, visited Marseille on 28 September 2022 to attend the launch of the “A ship for Ukraine” operation.

It was France’s largest humanitarian assistance operation in support of Ukraine since the start of Russia’s war of aggression. More than 1,000 tons of humanitarian freight was shipped to Ukraine, addressing the priorities expressed by the Ukrainian authorities. It notably included aid for civil security, medical supplies, food aid and emergency rehabilitation equipment.

This operation demonstrated France’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people and that of its local government bodies, civil society and businesses.

Dedicated humanitarian assistance for Ukrainian women and children

When it comes to health, sexual and reproductive rights, psychosocial support, information, education, housing, France is acting to help Ukrainian women in several areas.

The CDCS is financing many programmes put in place by NGOs to help Ukrainian women. The aim is to meet the needs of women who have fled with or without children over Ukraine’s borders, to neighbouring countries or to France.
Some 58% of the humanitarian projects financed are aimed wholly or partly at helping Ukrainian women.

France is also financially supporting UN humanitarian agencies, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that are active in Ukraine and neighbouring countries to protect women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence.

For example, 4,051 women and children had benefited from prevention services and programmes to fight gender-based violence offered by UNICEF in Ukraine as of 12 May 2022.

Some 90% of Ukrainian refugees in France and the wider EU are women and children. France is therefore operating specific initiatives for access to fundamental rights like health services, as well as transport, accommodation and learning the French language.

Launch of reconstruction support

As Russia’s aggression against Ukraine continues, it is important to launch coordination between partners and set down the broad principles that must serve as guidelines for the country’s crucial reconstruction. That was the aim of the Lugano conference that met in Switzerland on 4 and 5 July 2022.

The efforts of France and its local government bodies will focus considerably on the Chernihiv region, which has long-standing ties with France and was hit hard by Russian bombardment during the first weeks of the war.

France is already taking concrete steps to support the country’s reconstruction. During her visit to Ukraine on 27 September 2022, the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, inaugurated a project in the city of Hostomel, supported by the French company Neo-Eco and funded by France, for the recycling of materials in order to speed up reconstruction efforts for the people of Ukraine.

France’s commitment to safeguarding Ukraine’s cultural heritage

According to UNESCO, more than 200 cultural sites have been destroyed or damaged since the beginning of the Russian aggression, which shows a deliberate intention to target Ukrainian cultural heritage. This includes museums, religious buildings, historic buildings, monuments and libraries – sites that are an integral part of Ukrainian culture.

That is why France, which is strongly committed to protecting heritage in conflict areas, is working alongside all of its European and international partners to safeguard Ukrainian heritage. Since the beginning of the war, France and its partners have been working to ensure specific measures are put in place in liaison with international organizations such as UNESCO, ICOM and the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH Foundation). The ALIPH Foundation, of which France is a founding member, raised almost €3 million, including a financial commitment from the European Commission of €2 million, destined for projects protecting Ukrainian heritage, including staff training in preventive protection and the delivery of equipment to protect collections. A total of four convoys and 60 tons of equipment were sent to Ukraine in recent months and 150 collections have been protected. Lastly, the Ministry of Culture and its major public institutions such as the Louvre Museum and the National Library of France have hosted Ukrainian curators and restorers since the beginning of the war and are working with them on structural actions (such as protecting, restoring and digitizing) to protect the collections kept in Ukrainian museums and cultural institutions and training their staff in restoring damaged heritage items.