After a slow build up, the Russian Federation launched a military offensive in Ukraine on 24th February 2022 resulting in severe deterioration of the security situation. Armed violence quickly escalated in at least eight oblasts including the capital city of Kyiv, as well as in the eastern oblasts Donetska and Luhanska which were already affected by conflict.
The intense military escalation has resulted in loss of life, injuries and mass movement of the civilian population throughout the country and to neighbouring countries, as well as severe destruction and damage to infrastructure and residential housing. Martial law has been invoked allowing authorities to impose restrictions on movement; male Ukrainians 16 – 80 are prevented from leaving the country. All civil defence, civilian protection bodies and law enforcement entities are engaged in active armed conflict.
Public service provision – water, electricity, heating and emergency health and social services – is under severe pressure, and people’s access to health care is limited by insecurity. Primary services such as banking, social transfers and transport have been impacted, as have basic services, such as health, water, electricity and local administration. With the continuation of the military operation and mounting insecurity, supply chains are likely to be disrupted for a prolonged period. The ability of local authorities to sustain a minimum level of services has also been severely hampered, as employees have been displaced or can no longer access their workplace.
The expansion of the conflict is projected to deepen and expand humanitarian needs among millions of Ukrainians and exacerbate human suffering. UNOCHA estimates that over the course of the next three months, up to 6.7 million persons may be displaced inside Ukraine, it is projected 18 million people will be affected and 12 million people are expected to need humanitarian assistance.
The extensive violence immediately sparked a massive movement of people towards the borders. By 6th March 2022, more than 1.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries of Poland (1,028,000), Hungary (180,000) Slovakia (128,000), Moldova (83,000) Romania (79,000), the Russian Federation (53,000) and other European countries (184,000), according to UNHCR data. It has been reported that UNHCR is planning for up to 4 million refugees in the coming weeks. At this rate, the situation is set to become Europe’s largest refugee crisis of this century. According to UNHCR, an additional 96,000 people moved to the Russian Federation from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions between 18 and 23 February.
ACT members Hungarian Interchurch Aid, HEKS/EPER, Lutheran World Federation and the Europe forum will be responding in Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Poland, and Slovakia with an appeal budget of USD21.532.853