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EU, IFRC and Russian Red Cross improve living conditions of 2,800 displaced people from Ukraine

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Brussels/Budapest/Moscow 24 December 2020 – The European Union, together with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Russian Red Cross, is implementing a humanitarian project providing support and protection in four regions of Russia for conflict-affected people displaced from eastern Ukraine.

This project started in October 2020, builds on the humanitarian response to the most acute needs of people displaced from eastern Ukraine that was already set up in October 2019. The project is funded through EU Humanitarian Aid and continues the provision of humanitarian assistance and protection services to the most vulnerable in the Russian regions of Belgorod, Lipetsk, Volgograd and Voronezh hosting the largest number of displaced people. It is focusing specifically on mitigating the health and socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The activities focus on supporting at least 2,800 displaced people whose legal status in Russia limits their access to basic health services, social benefits and legal employment opportunities.

“The European Union responds to the needs of people who have fled the conflict areas and, in line with humanitarian principles, delivers emergency assistance. The coronavirus pandemic has worsened the situation of those who were already struggling, and we will continue to lend a helping hand to the most vulnerable. This is European solidarity in action,” said EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation Markus Ederer.

“The IFRC is pleased to be part of this project in line with our focus on supporting the needs and improving the lives of the most vulnerable people, wherever they are,” said Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen, IFRC Regional Director, Europe.

“We believe that this project is very important, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Migrants, refugees and displaced people have always been and remain an important category of people that the Russian Red Cross helps. We are grateful to the European Union and the IFRC for extending this project to the territory of the Russian Federation and to the Russian Red Cross staff for the tremendous work that has been done to help displaced persons,” said Russian Red Cross Chairwoman Raisa Lukutsova.

During the one-year project, conflict-affected displaced people from eastern Ukraine receive legal and social counselling, access to basic health services through provision of health insurance certificates, as well as psychosocial support and vouchers allowing to purchase basic food and household items. Particular attention is given to people living with HIV, who receive comprehensive support, including access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy.

Background

Since the beginning of the conflict, the European Union has provided humanitarian assistance to the conflict-affected people in eastern Ukraine, both in the government and non-government-controlled territories. Over 1.1 million people from Ukraine have also fled to the Russian Federation. The regions of Belgorod, Lipetsk, Voronezh and Volgograd are hosting the largest numbers of displaced people.

Since May 2017, the IFRC and the Russian Red Cross Society have been implementing projects that provide humanitarian assistance to 10,000 most vulnerable conflict-affected displaced people from eastern Ukraine in the Russian Federation. Funding has been granted by the EU’s Directorate-General of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). EU humanitarian assistance has also been provided to persons displaced from Ukraine to Belarus.