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Ukraine: ICRC president visits Ukraine and appeals to the parties to take steps to alleviate suffering

During a five-day visit to Ukraine, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, traveled to the country to see the challenges facing civilians affected by the conflict, to meet with members of Ukraine's government, and to see how the ICRC can further expand its neutral and impartial humanitarian work.

"What has been the same over the two days is that we hear from far the fighting in the northern suburbs, and we see that the war is present even here in the middle of Kyiv," said Mr. Maurer. "I have seen doctors, nurses who live outside of the cities, whose houses have been destroyed and who have been displaced and who live in some spare room of the hospital with the whole family. They are operating next door, the patients who come from the suburbs which have been affected by the conflict. You see a family in a spare room with a kid, with the kids not going to school, but learning from television and trying to cope with the schooling demands, trying to keep the education going, the schooling going, trying to get life going. While this is very difficult, to suddenly live in one spare room of the hospital, in safety, in the relative safety of the city."

The devastation of this conflict has been vast and humanitarian assistance is urgently needed. The ICRC has worked in Ukraine for the last eight years, helping to relieve the suffering in Donbas. Today it is massively scaling up its work. Just this week over 200 tons of relief supplies - medical material, thousands of blankets, kitchen sets, tarpaulins arrived in the country.

"We know that we need, together with the Ukrainian Red Cross to scale, speed and adapt our humanitarian assistance response to all those who are suffering now in Ukraine, in the east and north and south in particular on the front lines, but also to prepare for worse to come eventually in cities like Kyiv. Secondly, we need to respond to our protection mandate. This is an international armed conflict in which there are clear obligations with regards to prisoners of war, to civilian detained, to those who have died, to those who are missing, to the conduct of hostilities by the parties. These are issues which demand our strong engagement with all sides."

Note to editors:

1. The ICRC has been working for the people affected by the conflict in Ukraine since 2014. Our operations in the country are among the ten largest ICRC operations worldwide with a team of over 600 staff members. Working closely with the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, we are increasing our response to the humanitarian needs in Ukraine. Our support to people includes emergency assistance such as food, water, and other essential items. We also support hospitals and primary healthcare facilities with medical equipment and emergency preparedness. We repair water stations and support households to rehabilitate their damaged homes. We also help families separated by the conflict reconnect.

2. Established in 1863, the ICRC operates worldwide helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war. A neutral, independent and impartial organization, its mandate stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and works in more than 100 countries.

[Source: ICRC, Geneva, 17Mar22]

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small logoThis document has been published on 18Mar22 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.