Following a relative calm second half of 2020, ceasefire violations significantly intensified in the first quarter of 2021. The overall security situation has also deteriorated, resulting in the death of seven civilians (10 civilians injured) and damages to private houses. There are reports that Russia has mobilized large military presence in the Ukrainian border, creating fear among civilians. As a result, the humanitarian community, including UNICEF, launched a contingency planning process to prepare for any possible escalation.
The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak continued to generate an additional burden on the economy and healthcare services. From March, Ukraine experienced a third wave of the pandemic outbreak, resulting in strict lockdowns in some parts of eastern Ukraine. Ukraine started a slow vaccination programme in late February, prioritizing elderly population and health professionals. The access to the non-government-controlled areas remained a major challenge for the humanitarian community one year on from the start of the pandemic.
In the first three months of 2021, UNICEF received USD 3.9 million, out of a USD 14.7 million appeal. The health, education and HIV/AIDS programmes are significantly under-funded.