The UN Pulls the Plug on Its Donbass Aid Programme

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


I have visited countries that oh so benefited from humanitarian aid from the United Nations. Haiti, Kosovo, Libya, Syria… The traces of this help are everywhere – in the form of tents with the corresponding logos, makeshift shacks of boxes with UN logo, bags used for flour with sand on the parapets, with the “UN” stigma. Dirty children even make raincoats and shirts for themselves from plastic bags. I have never seen any of this in Donbass in the territories not controlled by Kiev. That’s why I think that the news that the World Food Programme (WFP) decided to stop delivering humanitarian aid to the residents of Ukraine affected by the conflict in Donbass is unlikely to upset Donetsk and Lugansk.

“WFP’s operation to provide food assistance to the vulnerable, conflict-affected people in the eastern part of Ukraine will continue for another two months of the winter and will then come to an end,” said the UN representative Neal Walker. “The number of needy, in fact, essentially doubled in the past year and WFP has no funding to continue its operations.”

According to the UN, the number of vulnerable residents in Donbass (on both sides) has increased to 1.2 million people. And this is a direct consequence of the blockade that Kiev declared to its own (according to Kiev) citizens. Both the LDPR and the controlled by Ukraine frontline areas suffer from this due to the loss of jobs and the rupture of relations.

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At the same time, during nearly four years Russia sent about 70 humanitarian convoys to Donbass. And it’s not only food but also materials to restore houses destroyed by war, and technology to launch businesses, and even cars for the local police. Food parcels from the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov were also seen here. Help was sent also by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. But nobody saw columns of the UN with flour and cereals in the LDPR. Apparently, their assistance was distributed only on the Ukrainian territory.

And even here the UN personnel had a “conflict of interest” with the Ukrainian army, who tried all the time to distribute this aid as if it came from themselves and not from the United Nations. As it was recently in the villages of Gladosovo and Travnevoye – captured by the UAF, where the Armed Forces simply didn’t allow the patrol of the UN to pass through with humanitarian aid, and distributed it to locals as help from the “caring” Ukrainian army. And for the UN, it seems simpler to close the program than to lose control over it.

“Corruption in the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine forced Minister Poltorak to appeal to the public and volunteers for help to ensure the Ukrainian army,” said on Wednesday the Deputy commander of the operational command of the DPR Eduard Basurin. “According to our intelligence data, the department of civil-military collaboration of the UAF is stealing about one million hryvnia of budgetary funds every month allocated for the humanitarian programme. In connection with such theft, it is natural to appeal to the population, so that it can be possible to compensate for the looted funds at their expense.”

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