Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The country regained independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union (the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR). Its capital is Kyiv. Ukraine shares land borders with Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova. The country covers an area of 603,550 square kilometers. In 2022, Ukraine has an estimated population of about 43,5 million people, making it one of the most populous countries in Europe. The Eastern European nation is neither a member of the European Union (EU) nor the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The humanitarian situation
Within weeks, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has created one of the largest humanitarian disasters globally. By November 2022, more than 16,800 civilians were recorded killed or wounded as a result of the war. Violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law occurring in the course of the ongoing armed attack are widespread. Millions of civilians fear for their lives. People in Ukraine continue to be killed, wounded and deeply traumatized by the violence. Civilian infrastructure on which they depend continues to be destroyed or damaged.
The war in Ukraine has led to one of the two major displacement crises in the world - the other being the Syrian civil war - with more than 14.3 million people fleeing their homes. More than 7.8 million refugees have sought refuge in foreign countries, mainly the Russian Federation, Poland and Germany. At least 6.5 million people are displaced within Ukraine.
More than nine months since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, humanitarian needs continue to rise. Millions of people across the country have endured months of intense hostilities without adequate access to food, water, health care, education, protection and other essential services. Massive destruction of civilian infrastructure has left hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians without their homes or livelihoods.
In its latest flash appeal the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says at least 17.7 million people in Ukraine require humanitarian assistance. Among them are 5.5 million children. According to OCHA, nearly 580 humanitarian partner organizations have provided so far life-critical aid and protection services to 13.4 million people across the country.
Humanitarian access in conflict zones is difficult, in particular near the eastern and southern fronts as well as in territories controlled or occupied by Russian forces. Ukrainian authorities in general allow unhindered access for relief organizations. Missile attacks and other airstrikes on large urban centers impact humanitarian operations across the country, particularly hampering the movement of aid workers and delivery of emergency supplies in eastern Ukraine, where people are in desperate need of assistance.
Due to the impact of the war in Ukraine, which is driving up the prices of food, fuel and fertilizer, other humanitarian crises around the world are deteriorating. The conflict is exacerbating the already dramatic food situation in many countries and millions of people worldwide are at risk of starvation.
The security situation
Armed conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine in 2014, following Russia’s occupation and annexation of Crimea, dramatically affecting the lives of millions of people. On February 24, 2022 Russia escalated its conflict with Ukraine by invading the country on several fronts. The 2022 invasion has become the largest conventional military attack on a sovereign state in Europe and created the continent’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.
The invasion has received near universal international condemnation, and many countries have imposed sanctions on Russia and also supplied military aid to Ukraine. In contrast, China and India - the two most populous countries in the world - did not condemn the war and made virtually no effort to end the conflict, even though both countries are the only ones capable of contributing much to it.
The security situation in Ukraine deteriorated rapidly following the launch of the Russian military offensive with forces crossing into the country from Belarus in the north, Russia in the east and Crimea in the south. The armed violence escalated in at least eight oblasts (administrative regions), including Kyiv Oblast, Kharkiv Oblast, and Chernihiv Oblast, as well as in the eastern oblasts Donetsk and Luhansk which were already affected by the 2014 conflict.
After Russian withdrawal of troops from the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Kharkiv Oblasts, the security situation improved there, at least temporarily. Subsequently Russia’s self-declared main effort has been on taking control of the Donbas region, though missile attacks and other airstrikes on large urban centers in the whole of Ukraine continue. Since the summer of 2022, however, most of the fighting has been confined to the east and south of the country. The war in Ukraine shows no signs of abating and drives increasing humanitarian needs across the country, especially in the Donbas region and the southern oblasts of Mykolaiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
In a further escalation of the conflict, Russia declared on September 30, 2022 the annexation of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia regions into the territory of the Russian Federation. While active fighting continues near the front lines, civilians bear the brunt of constant attacks. As the Russian Federation rhetorically threatens NATO member states and the use of nuclear weapons, the Ukraine crisis risks escalating into a Third World War with unforeseeable consequences for billions of people globally.
Your donation for the Ukraine emergency can help United Nations agencies, international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their local partners to rapidly provide water, food, medicine, shelter and other aid to the people who need it most.
- UN Crisis Relief: Ukraine emergency
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC): Ukraine humanitarian crisis
- UNHCR: Ukraine emergency
- International Rescue Committee (IRC): Ukraine crisis
- UNICEF: War in Ukraine
- World Food Programme: Ukraine emergency
- Plan international: Ukraine appeal
- Action Against Hunger: Ukraine emergency response
Many people are already donating to the emergency relief effort in Ukraine. If you would like to support humanitarian crises worldwide with a contribution, you can donate directly to the United Nations Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF).
- UN Crisis Relief: Central Emergency Response Fund
- UN OCHA: Situation Report Ukraine
- UNHCR Operational Data Porta: Ukraine Refugee Situation
- Reliefweb: Ukraine
- ACAPS: Ukraine conflict
- UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): Ukraine
- Council on Foreign Relations: Global Conflict Tracker: Conflict in Ukraine
- European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO): Ukraine
- International Crisis Group: Ukraine