Remarks by Permanent Representative of Ukraine in Geneva,
Ambassador Yevheniia Filipenko
at the Briefing on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine
(July 6, 2021)
Distinguished Ms. Lubrani, Ms. Saeed,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank the Geneva Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for organizing this event to enable international Geneva to receive up-to-date information on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and better perceive the current needs to overcome the existing problems.
Since this is my first Country Briefing in Geneva as new Permanent Representative of Ukraine, I would like to use this opportunity to say that,
I am honoured to represent Ukraine, one of the founding members of the UN, and to reiterate our commitment to contribute to achieving the goals and objectives of our Organisation and to make it relevant to our peoples.
I would like to underline the traditionally high level of cooperation between the Government of Ukraine and the UN team on a wide range of issues. Just recently, end of this June a meeting of the High-Level Steering Committee for the Implementation of the five-year Framework Program of Partnership between the Government of Ukraine and the United Nations for 2018-2022 was held with the participation of Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. A new Framework Program for 2023-2027 is under elaboration.
The United Nations has always been our trusted partner. We highly value its technical, expert and material assistance across a broad agenda. Today, the UN activities in Ukraine are extremely important in addressing COVID-19 pandemic, in supporting reform process and assisting in response to the protracted humanitarian crisis as a result of an external aggression. I take this opportunity to express gratitude to UN Resident Coordinator Osnat Lubrani and the whole UN country team in Ukraine for their committed work in supporting the Government and the people of Ukraine.
We have just heard the evaluation of the humanitarian situation
in Ukraine by Ms. Lubrani and Ms. Saeed. Let me on my part share with you some reflections on that matter.
Ukraine continues to face a dire humanitarian situation caused by Russia’s aggression that has lasted for almost eight years.
This situation has been further exacerbated by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide and in Ukraine in particular. Not only does Russia-guided illegal armed groups continue the shelling of Ukrainian territory despite the UN call for a ceasefire during the pandemic. They are constantly blocking and complicating access to the occupied territories for the OSCE and UN monitoring missions, as well as for the humanitarian organizations.
In certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Ukraine continues to deal with a drastically increased number of dangerous explosive devices, causing severe casualties among civilians, including children. Today Ukraine ranks #5 in the world by the number of civil casualties caused by mines. Therefore, mine action remains one of the priorities for Ukraine. The Government of Ukraine, in close cooperation with international partners, is actively engaged in performing a range of practical measures on deactivation and destruction of explosive devices on the liberated territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including providing mine-risk education.
Particular attention should be paid to the extremely negative environmental consequences of Russia's occupation of Donbass and Crimea. Due to the actions of occupation administration, these territories are threatened by pollution of soil, water, and air at the same time. According to the Ministry of Reintegration of Ukraine, about 500 thousand hectares of ecosystems have been destroyed in Donbass.
About 5.5 thousand objects constitutes potential danger for the environment. The man-made accident at some of that objects,
if occurs, will affect not only the entire East of Ukraine, but also half of Europe.
Since the beginning of Russia’s armed aggression against our country and the temporarily occupation of Crimea and Donbas in 2014, Ukraine has become the ninth largest country in the world in terms of the numbers of IDPs, which today amount to 1.5 million, or 3,5 per cent of Ukraine`s overall population.
Given the necessity to find solutions to the problem of internal displacement of citizens of Ukraine, the Ministry of Reintegration
is developing a new version of the Strategy for the Integration of IDPs
and Implementation of Medium-term Decisions on Internal Displacement till 2023.
The document is aimed at improving the state policy in the field of protection of the rights of IDPs and implementation of all appropriate measures to address the problems they are facing. In particular, it includes the development and implementation of local programs to promote the employment of IDPs, as well as the introduction of effective mechanisms to support and stimulate their businesses.
In the context of combating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and avoiding related restrictions, the vaccination algorithm for Ukrainian citizens living in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine
was approved. Moreover, a draft resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers
of Ukraine was developed to improve the provision of pension
and financial assistance by introducing remote identification of their recipients (without personal presence).
As you may know, the banking system of Ukraine cannot process any types of financial transactions in the temporarily occupied territories of our country and pay social benefits accordingly. Given that, it is necessary to demand from Russia, as the occupying state, to create the necessary conditions to fully address the issue of pension payments for citizens of Ukraine in its temporarily occupied territories.
As part of the implementation of the National Strategy for Barrier-Free Space in Ukraine, the Ministry of Reintegration is working on the introduction of state electronic services in Ukraine for IDPs and people living in the temporarily occupied territories. They include an online submission service and obtaining IDP certificates; online applications for monthly targeted IDP assistance; remote submission of documents to educational centers, etc.
Programs to facilitate access to education for residents of temporarily occupied territories have been established. Free training courses with scholarships for such children have also been launched in the territory controlled by the Government of Ukraine.
Since 2014, the Government of Ukraine has been regulating the provision of monthly targeted assistance to IDPs to cover living expenses, including housing and communal services. Moreover, under current legislation, IDPs are subject to other social support programs for vulnerable groups, including assistance to low-income families, housing subsidies, and so on.
Housing is one of the fundamental elements for IDPs integration. Government of Ukraine is implementing a number of housing programs to meet IDPs’ needs, in particular the one foreseeing the provision of subventions to local authorities for the purchase of temporary housing for IDPs, as well as a state program of subsidized mortgage loans for IDPs. Besides, a procedure for obtaining monetary compensation for destroyed housing in the areas affected by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in parts of Donbas was developed. Given the necessity of significant funds, Government of Ukraine is taking steps to involve our international partners in the implementation of such projects.
IDPs are provided with legal aid, both primary and secondary, free of charge. Today in Ukraine there are more than 500 access points to free legal aid.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As you may see, the Ukrainian Government is doing its utmost to address the existing humanitarian challenges. Because of their unprecedented scope and nature it cannot cope with them alone.
We highly appreciate what has been already done by our international partners to help those in need. Our today’s briefing shows that further support is needed to ensure full and efficient implementation of UN-led Humanitarian Response Plan. Your continued support for the UN will be an important testimony of the relevance of our Organization and its ability to make a difference in people’s lives.
I thank you.