Social Consequences of the War in Eastern Ukraine

The panel debate has been proceeded by a presentation made by Olexander Hryb, Co-Founder of British-Ukrainian Aid, a charity organization from United Kingdom providing help for the victims of the conflict in Ukraine. “3,1 mln people need humanitarian help, among them 580 000 children”, underlined Hryb. He presented a movie showing the most important aspects of the war in Ukraine. “ In Great Britain the biggest challenge is the communication strategy – people know much more about the war in Syria than about the real situation in Ukraine”, he underlined. If we manage to raise this conflict in the media, we find more people willing to help the Ukrainians in need.

Michał Potocki, a journalist from the Polish Daily Gazeta Prawna who chaired the panel debate underlined that the numbers mentioned in this presentation shall give a lot to think about. Oleg Zarubinskyi, Director of the Ukrainian Institute of Research of Extremism pointed out that there are different approaches families to this conflict among the Ukrainian families. “A family has become a kind of “safe harbour” in this ongoing conflict and it is a family that may be a basis, on which the social reform may be introduced”, stressed Zarubinskyi adding that this tendency “from the outside in” became much more stronger recently.

Christine Dugoin-Clement, Member of CAPE-Sogdiane from France presented reports from the front line, pointing out the problem of family separation experienced by the children escaping from Donbass. She underlined also huge hygene problems. The consequence of it are epidemic of diseases as tuberculosis, catarrhal jaundice or AIDS.

„2,3 milion of people in the occupied zones are not receiving any help because of isolation of this territory by the  self-proclaimed  authorities”, alarmed Veronique Barbelet from the British Overseas Development Institute. “We have to omit this problems by acting incognito” she explained, adding that “it makes the access to the humanitarian aid very limited.”

Maria Serena Natale – Journalist representing Italian Corriere della Sera, agreed with the opinion that the conflict in Ukraine practictically does not exist in the mass media in Western Europe. “On the other hand, Ukraine has avoided a banktrupcy thank to the western financial institutions as IMF” pointed out Natale. The speaker from Italy has suggested that enhancing the humanitarian aid in Ukraine very much depends on Ukraine, because the state has to introduce some necessary social reforms.

Dimitri Teperik, Chief Executive of International Centre for Defense and Security (ICDS) in Estonia took the floor as the last. He mentioned the statement made by President Poroshenko in Tallin, suggesting that the strongest support for Ukraine per capita is in Estonia. “ A huge challenge for the Ukrainian society is the lack of trust to the public institutions”, pointed out Teperik: “You cannot introduce effective social policy programs without it”.

All the speakers have agreed that in order to organize a better humanitarian aid for the war victims the following organizations have to cooperate with each other” government, foreign aid organizations and better information campaign in the media.