On October 23, 2020, the conference “The Future of Eastern Ukraine: from Humanitarian Needs to Development and Peace Perspectives” was held online. The event was organized by the ACCESS consortium (People in Need, ACTED/REACH, Medicos del Mundo, HelpAge International, Right to Protection), with the support of the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.
During the conference, a number of important issues were discussed, including the settlement of the conflict in Donbass, assistance to victims of conflict, the ecological situation on these territories, counteraction to the spread of COVID-19 in the conflict zone.
Oleksiy Reznikov, the Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, was the first to speak at the event.
«9.5 million citizens lived until 2014 in the Donetsk, Luhansk regions and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. As of today, approximately 5.5 million people are under occupation. Basically, these people are the hostages of the occupiers. 1.5 million internally displaced persons are registered in the government controlled territory of Ukraine. Only 50% of the total population is left at the occupied territories since the beginning of Russian occupation»– said Mr. Reznikov
Ms. Paraskevi Michou, Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, was the next speaker at the conference.
«For the European Union, the humanitarian crisis in Donbas remains one of the most important issues. This problem must remain neither a frozen conflict nor a forgotten crisis. We are all part of a single European family that remains loyal our people»– Ms. Paraskevi said during her presentation
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius also joined the discussion.
«The war in Donbass cannot be stopped just with the help of political agreements. Till the Government of Ukraine does not control its own borders, we cannot talk about peace. Similarly, it is impossible to talk about people in need of help and protection without specifying the context as a whole. Ukraine is in the 7-th year of undeclared Russian aggression. At the same time, there is an urgent need to continue reforms. That is why we must continue to put pressure on Russia to implement the Minsk agreements»– Mr Linkevičius noted
Live recording of the event is available on the “People in Need” Facebook page following the links below.
The ACCESS Project is implemented by a group of five international and national organizations: People in Need (PIN), Médicos del Mundo (MDM), ACTED in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives, Right to Protection (R2P) and the Help Age International. Through sectoral and geographical synergies, the project responds to the emergency needs of populations residing in eastern Ukraine. Alongside water and food security assistance, shelter rehabilitations and winterization, the project provides health and psychosocial services, and advocates for people’s access to essential services. ACCESS provides humanitarian assistance on both sides of the contact line in Ukraine, with funds from the European Commission through its Directorate-General for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).