Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Simon Henshaw announced May 23 in Kyiv that the United States is providing $18 million in additional U.S. humanitarian assistance to help those affected by Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. With this new funding, total U.S. humanitarian assistance since the start of the crisis will reach more than $61 million.
The United States remains concerned by the growing humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine, particularly in areas occupied by combined Russian-separatist forces, and the limits on assistance agencies’ response due to the underfunding of humanitarian appeals. More than five million people in Ukraine are in need of aid, according to the UN, including 1.2 million internally displaced persons. Single-headed households, the disabled, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Civilians’ freedom of movement and the inability of international humanitarian organizations to access individuals in need of assistance are also greatly concerning.
We call on all those involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine to facilitate the quick and safe movement of civilian populations as they seek to cross the ceasefire line. We call on Ukraine, Russia, and the separatists it backs, to fully implement the February Minsk implementation plan, particularly to allow international humanitarian organizations unhindered access to persons affected by conflict, and thereby ensure safe access, delivery, storage, and distribution of humanitarian assistance. We urge progress in the Trilateral Contact Group working groups, which will facilitate implementation of the Minsk agreements and a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.
The $18 million from the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration will support the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). This funding will support efforts to meet the most critical protection and assistance needs of persons affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, including the provision of food, hygiene items, medical supplies, and essential household items such as blankets, plastic sheeting, and construction materials to repair homes. This funding will also support the prevention of and response to gender-based violence and improved access to health care services.